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CLOSE-UP 

of 

THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



LIEUTENANT COLONEL WARREN J. CLEAR 
GENERAL STAFF CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY 



LECTURE 

DELIVERED AT THE 

Comman d and General Staff School 
fort leavenworth., kansas 
October, 1942 




BY 




CLOSE-UP 



of 

THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



LIEUTENANT COLONEL WARREN J. CLEAR 
GENERAL STAFF CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY 



LECTURE 
delivered at the 
Command and General Staff School 
fort leavenworth, kansas 
October, 1942 




BY 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



LIEUTENANT COLONEL WARREN J. CLEAR 

General Staff Corps, United States Army 



The typical Jap is a runt. Five feet three inches tall, 
he weighs 118 pounds. He is one hundred percent literate. 
He is paid $15-10 a year, or $1,26 a month,* of which sum 
he is allowed to squander 9i/ 2 cents on himself. 
He can live on a handful of rice and a few scraps of 
dried fish a day. He accepts it as commonplace to march 
30 miles, under full equipment, in 24 hours. He usually pre- 
sents a slovenly appearance, and is no great shucks on pa- 
rade, but he is one of the toughest fighting men in the world 
today. 

This is our enemy. It will be wise for us to know as 
much as we can about this half -savage biped whose bandy 
legs have carried the sun-burst banner of conquest over a 
quarter of the globe, from the icy reaches of the Bering Sea 
to the burning sands of the southern islands. "To know 
oneself and the enemy is the secret of victory " says five- 
foot-two General Sadao Araki, the evil genius of Japan. 
Our soldiers, marines, and sailors who are now fighting him 
are too busy taking the Jap apart to ask how he is put to- 
gether. But we at home can know — and should know — just 
what kind of fighting animal this is that is holding the 
world's longest battle line, from Kiska to Tulagi. 

In our effort to know all we can about our enemy we 
are, it seems to me, justified in giving a little to a psycho- 
logical study of the fellow we are fighting. The security of 
nations, of men, of phenomena, racial and political, is, after 
all, mainly psychological. Our psychological interest per- 
haps should be our dominating interest because the soul of 
man is his greatest part. We must begin any psychological 
study of the Japanese soldier by making ourselves aware of 

*Based on present yen value of 23 cents. The Jap general re- 
ceives 100 times as much as a shimpei or private. 



s 



4 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

the extent to which the Japanese national character has been 
fixed by the discipline of centuries and the degree to which 
the Japanese fighter's character has been fixed by that disci- 
pline. For it is certainly to the long discipline of the past 
that Japan owes the moral strength behind her unexpected 
display of aggressive power. No superficial observation 
could discern the silent energies and the unconscious hero- 
ism that impel this mass of ninety million souls— the com- 
pressed force ready to expand for destruction at Imperial 
bidding like the pent-up steam in a boiler. In the leaders of 
a nation with such a military and political history one might 
expect to find all those abilities of supreme importance in 
diplomacy and war. But such capacities could prove of little 
worth were it not for the character of the masses— the qual- 
ity of the material that moves to command with the power 
of wind and tides. Behind Japan's military capacity is the 
disciplined experience of a thousand years. 

Before the Pacific conflagration started, many of us 
armed ourselves with the latest Encyclopedia, the States- 
men's Year Book, Jane's Fighting Ships, and other tomes, 
and carefully measured the relative fighting strengths of 
the American and Japanese armed forces in terms of keels, 
battalions, and guns. 

We could calculate to the ton on the weight of iron and 
lead the ships could throw but we neglected to take into con- 
sideration the most important factor of all— the specific 
gravity of Japanese militarism. We did not try to measure 
the weight of the human stuff Japan is able to throw into 
her drive for empire. We missed the point that the sword is 
the sacred emblem of a warlike and warloving nation of 
eighty millions. "The sword is our 'steel bible/ " said General 
Hayashi. We failed to realize that the Army is Japan. The 
Japanese people do not merely love it, they are its flesh and 
blood, and physically and spiritually indistinguishable from 
it. When it goes into battle it is themselves translated into 
action. It is the incarnation of their instincts and ambitions. 

To know the little yellow man well, as he really is— in 
camp, on the march, and in battle, it is necessary to know 
something about his background; because, unique among 
all the fighters of the world, the Jap soldier cannot be under- 
stood unless seen in the light of the centuries of f uedalism 
which have produced him. One must enter into the labora- 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 5 



tory of history wherein were compounded the psychological 
elements that compose his make-up. 

An extraordinary anachronism, he fights with the most 
modern weapons, but is yet a creature of barbaric thousand- 
year-old customs. These ancient compulsions demanded, 
and still demand, unhesitating self-sacrifice; emphasize the 
claims of community over the individual, of feudal despots 
over law, of death over life; practically destroy all moral 
values as we know them ; and make the Japanese quite in- 
different to physical or mental suffering. This old savagery, 
this inbred brutality, has been inherited — proudly, you might 
say — by the modern Jap soldier. 

Mr.Yukio Ozaki, M. P., one of Japan's few liberals and 
former Minister of Education, told me: "We Japanese, and 
particularly the Japanese soldier, are inscrutable. The 
forces and influences that made us what we are, moulded us 
in rigid forms for a thousand years. If you would find out 
something about us I would advise you to examine those 
forces and influences. Call in History and she can assist 
you in obtaining a real understanding of Japanese psycho- 
logy. Write down every conversation, every speech you 
hear while with our Army, because in this country, more 
than in any other, the words of the strong make the minds 
of the weak." 

The modern Jap soldier is the product of centuries of 
internecine warfare beginning back in the Stone Age. Al- 
most all the uncovered relics of that period are spears, bows 
and arrows, and swords. As early as a thousand years ago, 
warfare between the clans was unending. In the fierce 
battles, no quarter was ever shown. The records show that 
when the Tairas fought the Minamotos in the 12th Century, 
all prisoners — men, women, and children — were decapitated. 
In 1598, during Kato's invasion of the mainland of Asia, 
' his troops beheaded 38,700 Chinese and Koreans. The ears 
and noses were cut off, pickled, and sent back in tubs to 
Kyoto, where they were deposited in a mound in the grounds 
of the temple of Diabutsu. A monument marked MimU 
zuka, or Ear-mound, still stands over this memento of 
merciless warfare. 

In 1600, in a battle between the Regent lyeyasu and 
his enemy Mitsunari, over forty thousand of Mitsunari's 
men were slain and their decapitated heads buried in a 



6 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

ghastly mound called Kubi-zuka, or Head-pile, which can 
still be seen today. Up until 1870, indeed, It was the usual 
Japanese procedure to collect enemy heads after every bat- 
tle. The official tally was always made, and a formal re- 
port of the casualties rendered, on this basis. Heads of 
enemy officers were strung on a rope between two poles, 
each of the gruesome trophies being ticketed with name 
and rank. 

It was this same Shogun, Iyeyasu, who began the ter- 
rible persecutions against the Spanish and Portuguese mis- 
sionaries and Christian Japanese converts. The pages of 
history show no more terrible brutality, the fiendish refine- 
ments of cruelity visited on the victims being almost beyond 
belief. Christians were buried alive, torn asunder by oxen, 
thrown from cliffs onto the rocks below, tied in pairs m 
huge rice bags which were pyramided and then set on fire. 
Japanese official records of the times reveal tortures too 
revolting to be described. The sadism that is latent m every 
Japanese male had to be satisfied. It is little less vicious 
today among the yellow fighting-men. We ought to keep 
these matters in mind. 

Another thing we should all know about is the influence 
of the Code of Bushido on Japanese thought and action, and 
especially on the Japanese fighting-man. Bushido, ^The 
Way of the Warrior," never exerted a more compelling influ- 
ence than it does now. As a historical and traditional ideal, 
a heritage of heroism, it wields an uncontested disciplinary 
sway over the Japanese mind. In fact, it is the supreme 
moral influence in Japan today. 

Bushido was the code of the Samurai, who was the most 
distinctive and amazing product of Japanese f uedalism. All 
the dim tapestries of Europe's age of chivalry do not present 
a braver or more heroic— or more unpredictable and unreli- 
able—figure than the samurai. When we discuss him and 
his ethics we again run up against the paradox that is Japan. 

His code was, and is, as paradoxical as himself. As high 
and exacting in many of its standards and requirements as 
that of the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table, it never- 
theless sanctioned the use of double-dealing and m olden 
times authorized some despicable and heartless treacheries. 
The samurai code of life, high and unselfish as it might be 
on its best-known side, was brutal and ferocious on its re- 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 7 



verse. On its idealized side it was uniquely noble, and if the 
samurai had always adhered to its ethics, Japan would have 
been an island paradise instead of a kingdom of blood-soaked 
battlefields and never-ending elan strife during which the 
Imperial capital was burned and pillaged repeatedly, princes 
of the Imperial blood assassinated, while the helpless mass of 
the unarmed people eked out life in misery and wretched- 
ness, with human life held at the lowest price. All this time 
Japan was isolated, cut off from intercourse with other 
nations and secure from foreign invasion. It might be 
thought that this security would have resulted in a complete 
decay of martial spirit, but in Japan, as fn other countries, 
populated by warlike peoples, it merely served to engender 
civil war as the only outlet or "escape valve" for an irre- 
pressible military temperament 

Bushido was the growth of centuries of clan warfare 
and finally developed into a catalogue of statutes of military 
conduct. In fuedal times it operated, it might be said, as the 
constitution of the "Secret Society of the Samurai," who 
carefully guarded its rules and held their secrets as mysteries 
to be kept from the exoterics, the common people, who were 
little more than serfs. 

Some of its preeepts were, however, made public knowl- 
edge. "Frugality, fealty, and filial piety" were the virtues it 
evoked in the feudal samurai. The high standard of loyalty 
it demanded in the service of the feudal lord often impelled 
the warrior of old Japan to seek voluntary death (hara-kiri) 
that required a power of self-command and physical courage 
equal to any ordeals faced by men in the most heroic actions 
in European history and romance. 

It inspired the many instances of self-sacrificing valor 
which fill the pages of the history of the Japanese Campaigns 
against Russia in 1904-5. We read about the repeated as- 
saults up the blood-soaked slopes of "203-Metre Hill" and 
we mumbled something about "fanaticism," but we were 
wrong. The word "fanaticism" does not encompass the 
loyalty to lofty traditions which characterized the heroes of 
old Japan and which the troops exhibited who took Port 
Arthur. Nor is the word adequate to describe the Stoic 
courage and the spirit of self -sacrificing devotion to Emperor 
which is the battle-motive of the Japanese soldier today. 

The inspiration which steels him to the death cannot be 



8 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

destroyed by traducing it or calling it names. We do our- 
selves, and our men who will have to face him, a service by 
giving the devil his due. 

This fellow we are fighting is not afflicted with any mad- 
ness of the moment that can be cured by "a whiff of grape- 
shot." 

It is no mere fit of fury that possesses him. He is not 
a mad dog. 

It is virtually important that we admit the truth that 
this enemy of ours is capable of religious devotion. That is 
easily proved. Twenty-five thousand of his ancestors en- 
dured unspeakable tortures and death at Shimabara without 
one of them, as far as is known, recanting the Christianity 
for which he died. 

General Nogi said : "Bushido is what our parents have 
taught us with great earnestness, day and night, from our 
fourth or fifth year, when we first began to have some 
knowledge of the things around us." 

Eushido remains something very real and we must 
recognize its continuing potency. The maker, and product, 
of old Japan, it is still the guiding principle and the forma- 
tive force of the present era. 

After passing through the mists of antiquity and the 
crimson twilight of fuedalism it now, in the twentieth 
century, emerges as a sort of trancendental moral eidolon, 
gripping the heart and firing the imagination of every one 
of ninety million Japanese, in whom the old narrow ideal of 
loyalty to a feudal lord has been sublimed into loyalty, unto 
death, to the Emperor. These are not mere words. Today 
every Japanese male is, in his own imaginings, a samurai. 
Mentally, he always has been. He has always been capti- 
vated by tales of olden times "when knighthood was in 
flower." He has always been avid to see romantic, blood- 
ancl-thunder films of feudal glories— and Japan produces 
hundreds of thousands of feet of the world's bloodiest. 
"He loves the twilight that surrounds 
The border-land of old romance : 
Where glitter hauberk, helm and lance, 
And banner waves, and trumpet sounds, 
And mighty warriors sweep along, 
Magnified by the purple mist, 
The dusk of centuries and of song." 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 9 



It was Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun, (1368- 
1393), who really codified feudalism and gave the system 
tremendous impetus throughout the land. He did much to 
fix the code in perpetuity and establish the warrior caste of 
the samurai- This Ashikaga was a tremendous fellow in 
many ways, and is worth looking up in the local library. 

The samurai himself was quite a bucko and we should 
take a brief look at him, because he is the progenitor of the 
fellow we are fighting. They are one and the same type. 
He was a distinct product of his times, developing a dress, 

NOTE : The shogun was the great overlord who ruled 
in the name of the Emperor. He was the head of a clan that 
won to supremacy over all the other clans by the sword, and 
he retained power by the sword. He was the self -constituted 
'dictator' of his day as long as his personal army of clan 
samurai was strong enough to beat down other rivals for 
power. 

coiffure, and customs entirely his own, no item of which the 
commoner could copy, on pain of death. Like the braves of 
some of our Indian tribes he shaved his temples and mid- 
scalp, but wore the rest of his long hair in a queue which 
was folded into a pomaded topknot and fitted into a slit in 
the buckskin lining of his helmet. Scowling under his red and 
black war paint, with his lacquered-leather armor, steel 
greaves, and death's-head helmet he made an awesome and 
fearful figure that the common folk kept out of the way of. 
There were five hundred thousand of his kind, and they 
strutted up and down the land like turkeycocks on parade, 
lusty to be fighting or philandering. 

If he were confronted with the ignominy of defeat in 
battle or found guilty of a disgraceful or criminal act the 
samurai had the exclusive privilege of hara-kiri — and he 
always availed himself of it in these circumstances. Ordi- 
nary folks had to suffer decapitation on the common execu- 
tion ground. 

His professional duties were those of armed retainer 
to a daimyo, or provincial lord, to whom he gave unqualified 
allegiance and loyalty. His devotion to his lord was no less 
than his skill with the sword he carried in the latter 's service. 

Impartial evidence from many sources substantiates 
the Japanese claim that the samurai of feudal times had no 



10 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

superior as an all-around man-at-arms with the weapons of 
the day. As an archer he was at least the equal of the bow- 
men of Crecy and Agincourt and as a swordsman he de- 
stroyed all comers, including the elsewhere invincible war- 
riors of the Mongol conquerors. 

Even St. Francis Xavier wrote chapters on the Japanese 
blade, and the Chinese and Koreans who were oft-times 
badly cut up by it had a favorite figure of speech which de- 
scribed the lightning; play of a Japanese sword in a samurai's 
hands as so rapid that it hid its wielder from view behind a 
flashing circle of steel. 

On one occasion a British freebooter, with a hard-bitten 
crew of free lances of the sea, tackled a Japanese pirate ship, 
and the action was finally mutually broken off after the 
captain of the English ship had been killed and his crew 
compelled to "the desperate expedient of raking their own 
decks with their own guns before the Japanese boarding 
party were exterminated-" Neither side gave any quarter. 

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu made it possible for the samuari 
to assume a status above the common people, but it was the 
Shogun Iyeyasu who gave the samurai top rank in the Japa- 
nese social order, 

Iyeyasu, in his legacy, stated specifically: "The samurai 
are the masters. Farmers, artisans, and merchants may 
not behave in a rude manner towards them. A samurai is 
not interfered with in cutting down a fellow who has be- 
haved to him in a manner other than is expected." 

Under the code, samurai fathers had the privilege of 
killing a daughter convicted of unchastity, and of killing a 
son guilty of any action calculated to disgrace the family. 
A husband was privileged to kill a wife suspected of infi- 
delity. Creditors could not gather outside the house of a 
samurai to dun him for his debts. He was legally entitled 
to rush out and cut them down. 

Armed with this carte blanche from an omnipotent au- 
thority, the samurai, down through the centuries of feudal- 
ism that followed Iyeyasu 's rule, did not fail to avail them- 
selves of every privilege — including that of trying out a new 
blade on an unfortunate commoner for the infraction of a 
punctilio. Later, a favorite sport of these foot-loose arro- 
gant swashbucklers became the cutting down of the keiio- 
jin, or hairy ones — foreigners. It was some of their number 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



11 



who, on the night of January 14, 1861, attacked Secretary 
C. J. Hueskin of the American Legation, slashing him so 
terribly with their long swords that he died within a few 
minutes. This attack on an unarmed man was, to our way 
of thinking, cowardly ; yet, a few months later, the same, or 
similar, irresponsible swordsmen had all the courage of fana- 
tics when fourteen of them attacked the British Embassy 
although it was guarded by a full company of Imperial 
Japanese troops. 

So quixotic were these bad-tempered fellows that as late 
as 1862 some of them entered a memorial temple and cut off 
the heads of the wooden images of the Ashikaga regents be- 
cause the latter had set up an illegitimate branch of the 
Imperial house five hundred years before. 

Another band of these arrogant bully-boys hacked 
Saguma Shogen to death because he rode on a horse with a 
European saddle and bridle. They didn't like that because 
they were opposed to the opening of Japan to the w T orld and 
despised "foreign importations." 

All in all, the samurai was the prototype of the Jap 
fighting-man of today. He had his "points," and let us be 
intellectually honest enough to admit them. He was incred- 
ibly enduring, preternatu rally heroic, quixotically loyal, in- 
corrigibly oblivious of all material values, including money 
— the most amazing idealist in all history. These were all 
military virtues, but listen to the other side of him, his social 
shortcomings. His code of Bushido did not cover the whole 
field of moral consciousness, and the samurai, in his supreme 
effort to cultivate the military virtues, did not have enough 
moral force left in him to achieve anything approaching 
social morality. 

His character seems (seems) to illustrate in the sphere 
of human morals the law said to be operative in the sphere 
of human physiology — that a concentration of force (in this 
instance moral force) into one channel implies its propor- 
tionate withdrawal from others. Our moral force, like our 
vital energy, is, it seems, a determinate quantity. The 
samurai used up the whole of his in a successful effort to 
cultivate military virtues. He had little or none left for the 
cultivation of social morality. 

Therefore, while his military virtues were extraordi- 
nary, his social vices were even more so. He was erotically 



12 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



licentious ; he flaunted a fierce, glacial pride ; he was super- 
cilious, and contemptuous of all below him ; his vengeance 
was implacable, and his freedom with the lives of others was 
quite as careless as his indifference to his own. He was 
cruel beyond description and perpetrated dreadful deeds 
without a qualm. He was quick to anger, and ferocious in 
his rage. 

To sum it up, he was, in shining armor, what his son in 
shoddy is today — a prodigy of valor and a monster of vicious- 
ness. The samurai of yesterday and today is one and the 
same fellow. 

The samurai had the legal privilege of carrying two 
swords. The larger one, katana, was about four feet long, 
nearly straight, but slightly curved toward the point, its 
blade thick at the back, for weight, and ground to a razor- 
keen edge. It was carried in a wooden, metal, or fiber 
scabbard thrust through the obi, or sash, on the wearers 
left side, with the edge uppermost. It was usually wielded 
with both hands and had a long hilt for that purpose : The 
smaller sword, wakizashi, had a blade about nine or ten 
inches long, and was used for committing hara-kiri. 

Practically every Japanese officer in the recent cam- 
paigns in the Philippines, Malaya, and the southwest Pacific 
carried the big sword, and never passed up an opportunity 
to use it. General Sadao Araki, who loves Iyeyasu's pro- 
nouncement, "A girded sword is the living soul of a samu- 
rai," and never misses an opportunity to repeat it, revived 
this custom, The picture of General Homma taking the sur- 
render of our Geneal Wainwright at Corregido shows the 
former with both hands grasping the two-handed hilt of one 
of these murderous weapons which he carried throughout 
the campaign. 

In some respects these famous swords are superior to 
the finest Toledo blades, partcularly in balance and temper, 
and their quality has been a matter of national pride for 
hundreds of years. Japanese and foreign chroniclers tell of 
the feats performed with these marvels of the swordsmaker's 
art — of cutting through an iron bar, of cleaving with one 
blow three human bodies. . . . During the fight for Shang- 
hai a Japanese lieutenant cut through the barrel and water- 
jacket of a modern machine gun with his sword. 

When a male heir to the throne is born the Imperial 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 13 



Chamberlain bears to the infant prince's bedside, on a silken 
pillow, a sword newly forged by the Empire's master sword- 
smith. The sword, symbol of potency and Imperial destiny, 
remains the close personal possession of its princely owner 
until his death. 

The favorite objects of the swordsman's testing of the 
qualities of his blade were the Eta, or pariahs. These 
wretched social outcasts, who were considered less than 
human beings,* were slashed in two whenever a swaggering 
two-bladed bucko felt like swinging his sword at something. 
An American clergyman writes: "Even as late as 1870 the 
average Japanese gentleman thought no more of cutting 
down one of this sort of legal nonentity than he would a dog, 
I used to see corpses of low-class men lying unburied on the 
highway, just as they fell under the blade of some drunken 
or bad-tempered samurai." 

Equipped with a historical background of which the 
above are highlights, and having acquired a working knowl- 
edge of the language, I proceeded from Tokyo to Aizu-Waka- 
matsu, in north-central Japan (Honshu), for my period of 
attachment to the Second Division, Imperial Japanese Army. 

The train was filled. Seated side of me were two Japa- 
nese naval officers, both studying logarithms and talking 
higher mathematics. Across from them sat their wives, one 
nursing an infant. A few moments later she was holding 
the baby's fat bottom over one of the bright brass cuspidors 
set in a row down the middle of the coach. You could see 
that she thought no better use could be made of a brass 
gaboon that had been set so conveniently at hand. 

Looking out the windows of the train as we sped along 
one could see tractor-drawn field guns moving through fields 
where farmers were tilling their acres with plows drawn by 
oxen toiling under heavy wooden yokes that had burdened 
the necks of generations of oxen before them. Later, these 
same farmers would thresh their grain with hand flails and 
winnow it by pouring it through the air from above their 
heads on a beezy day, while Army bombers and fighter-planes 
roared by. 

Some female laborers were sinking a well by pulling a 

*When counting the Eta, the Japanese used the peculiar numerals 
employed in counting animals : ippiki, nihiki, sambiki, etc. Even today 
they are often referred to, not as persons, but as "things." 



14 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



tremendous stone to the top of a high wooden tripod, then 
slacking: their ropes in unison and letting the great rock 
drop on the head of an ancient drill. Above the not unpleas- 
ing singsong sound of their rhythmic chanting came the 
muffled sound of guns in the distance. Again the paradox 
that always confronts one wherever he goes in Japan. 

An old gentleman in tall hat and frock coat across the 
aisle loosened the top buttons of his long woolen drawers for 
greater com fort. He was evidently an important official, 
and a little late f in November* he would attend the Imperial 
Garden Party and view the Imperial chrysanthemums in 
the same outfit, with his garters over the long drawers, and 
white tie and tails. 

Arriving at Aizu-Wakamatsu I reported to General 
Hayashi, commander of the Second Division of the Japanese 
Army. 

The first thing I saw as I walked into Headquarters was 
this inscription above the door, in letters of gold : 

"Remember, that death is lighter than a 
feather, but that Duty is heavier than a 
mountain." 

'That is a very old injunction," said General Hayashi. 
"It determines our attitude toward our duty to the Em- 
peror.' 

He introduced me to his staff, and then we all entered 
a room where the Emperor's picture was hanging. All 
bowed at the waist, very low, in silence, for one full minute. 
When we passed from the room General Hayashi said, "You 
see, in our Empire the Emperor is our country and ourselves. 
The Emperor is the state. The Emperor is one substance 
with the state and shares its destiny. Therefore we venerate 
him/' 

The division adjutant, Major Hata, showed me to my 
quarters, a charming little Japanese house. Then he pre- 
sented me with a key. 

"We have built a strong-room for you," he said, "where 
you can lock secret and confidential papers. We have fitted 
very fine Yale lock so you can leave everything with safety 
when you go on marches with us." 

I remembered that two keys ^usually come with Yale 
locks. ... * 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



15 



The next morning at 5 : 00 a. m. the bugles went, and at 
5 :30 the recruits from the back-country farms were getting 
their first taste of army life. 

"Wan-hash i ; wan-hash i," barked a hard-looking drill- 
sergeant. 

"What does that mean?" I asked Major Hata, as the 
awkward-looking recruits stumbled by. 

"These fellows are from the country/' he replied, "and 
they don't know their right foot from their left, But every 
Japanese always holds the rice bowl or teacup ( wan) in his 
left hand, and the chopstick (hdski) in his right. So the 
sergeant shouts, 'Teacup, chopsticks; teacup chopsticks*; 
and they know what he means." 

On another occasion, Hata told me, "Last night I 
ordered one of these rustics of ours to put out the light in a 
tent. A few minutes later I saw him blowing at the electric- 
light globe as if it were a candle/' 

Country bumpkins comprise the bulk of the raw ma- 
terial out of which the Japanese officer fashions the army, 
seventy percent of its strength being drawn from the fields. 
But though it may be raw in a physical sense, it has, never- 
theless, received considerable mental and psychological con- 
ditioning before it reaches the army. The officer can be 
sure the recruit "knows" the following highly important 
"facts." 

First of all, this simple yokel knows he is descended 
from the gods. That is his faith and the faith of one hun- 
dred million of his brothers. Beyond this, he knows without 
questioning that his Emperor is more than an emperor in 
the sense that Charlemagne or Kaiser Wilhelm was an 
emperor. His Emperor is the Son of Heaven, the Supreme 
Being, an incarnate god. The recruit doesn't know that the 
Emperor is the wonderfully convenient instrument used by 
a crafty, cruel, and aggressive military oligarchy to manipu- 
late the masses to its will. 

When the Emperor passes along a street, all second- 
story windows must be covered, and everyone must descend 
to the first floor. This is to make sure that no mortal is on 
a higher elevation than the Emperor. To all his millions, 
this little be-spectaled man, this rather fragile Hirohito, has 
a sacredness and inviolability that we accord only to the 
Diety. Even his portrait is divine. Hundreds of Japs 



16 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

have given their lives trying to save the Imperial portrait 
from burning buildings, it being considered far more impor- 
tant to rescue the picture than to save the lives of human 
beings. Several instances are on record where the principal 
of a burned schoolhouse committed hara-kiri because he was 
unable to save the Imperial Portrait. The army has the 
same reverent attitude. Every morning and evening as the 
officers and soldiers of the Second Division passed the build- 
ing in which the Imperial likeness was enshrined, they 
paused and made a complete obeisance. 

The recruit is also ''conditioned" by influences that put 
their stamp upon him long before he enters barracks. 

He is the poduct of a thousand years of discipline in 
hardship and instinctive obedience. His imagination is fired 
by years of recitals of the countless deeds of supreme sacri- 
fice and devotion on the part of his ancestors who died in 
the Imperial service. In his schoolroom there is, probably, 
a replica of the stone tower, over two hundred feet high, that 
stands on the summit of Peiyushan, one of the hills overlook- 
ing Port Arthur. This monument memorializes heroes, in- 
cluding, most likely, men of his own family, who lie in the 
vaults under the tower. The gigantic tomb contains the 
bones of the twenty-three thousand Japanese who made the 
supreme sacrifice in the successive attacks that led to the 
fall of the Manchurian fortress. 

Also in his school are models of Peiyushan itself, of 
Kikwanshan, ow "203 Metre Hill/ of the Bodai and Erlung- 
shan forts, with their wide, deep, concrete-sided ditches 
which the Japanese infantry had to cross after they had 
survived the murderous cross-fire that swept the steep glacis 
with its broad belts of electrified barbed wire, 

Without question his class-room displays a small, tem- 
ple-like structure in which is enshrined bronze images of the 
three soldiers of the engineer corps who made a bangalore 
torpedo of their own bodies and were blown to bits in the 
Emperor's service under the Chinese wire entanglements at 
Shanghai, He will have seen school dreams portraying the 
glorious self-sacrifice of "The Three Living Torpedoes" and 
he will have visualized himself in a similar heroic role of 
self-immolation. The mothers of these three heroes were 
taken over all the islands of the Empire in a special train, 
and hundreds of thousands fought for the privilege of kiss- 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



ing the hems of their kimonas. Money from Japanese all 
over the world, including the United States and South Amer- 
ica, poured in to buy a monument to the "San Yuskv 1 (the 
three heroes). 

At Aizu-Wakamatsu, ancient stronghold of the Matsu- 
daira Clan, the ceremonies attendant on a conscript's leave- 
taking show the significance attached to the call to duty in 
the Emperor's service. 

The town assembled to honor its fifty conscripts who 
were seated in three rows on a snowy white un painted wood- 
en platform set under a magnificent suna-matsu (pine tree) 
at least six feet in diameter. Its lower branches swept 
downward, almost to the ground, forming a great green 
canopy. 

The Mayor of the town mounted the platform, bowed 
low to the conscripts, and read the following portion of the 
Imperial Rescript of the Emperor Meiji to his soldiers: 

"I am your Commander-i n-Chief , you are my strong 
arms. You shall regard me as your head, then shall our 
relation be close and deep. By the grace of Heaven I protect 
and rule this land. Whether I shall adequately fulfil my duty 
to the Ancestors depends upon your fildelity. Should the 
prestige of the country suffer diminution you shall sorrow 
with me. Should our power increase and our glory shine 
more brightly then I with you shall share that glory, If 
you unite with me in fidelity to duty, if you devote your 
strength to the protection of the nation . . . then our cour- 
age and power shall illuminate the whole earth." 

Following the reading of the Rescript the Mayor read 
from another scroll. 

"The Sacred Emperor above holds in his hand all the 
powers of government. Below him the whole realm of loyal 
subjects obey his Imperial Will. . . ." 

The Mayor went on . , . "The August Benevolence of 
the Emperor extends to the four corners of the land. From 
the western shores to the uttermost confines on the east 
there is no being that lacks refreshment from the gentle dews 
of his benevolence. All are strengthened and nourished by 
the winds of his grace. We must never forget that it is due 
to the possession of such a peerless Emperor alone that the 
three thousand years of our history have been as a flawless 
golden vessel. It is because of him that it shall remain for- 



18 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



ever unalterable and immutable for a thousand and yet eight 
thousand years." 

Turning, and bowing low to the conscripts, the Mayor 
retired, to be succeeded by the Commander of the 29th In- 
fantry Regiment, who returned the deferential bow of the 
audience. It could be seen at once that the community held 
him in esteem and, perhaps, affection. 

The Colonel delivered a forthright speech in which he 
pulled no punches. He hinted that the conscripts might 
have the privilege of fighting in the service of the Emperor. 

"... As the dying leopard leaves its coat to man, so a 
warrior's reputation serves his sons after his death," he 
began. 

"The powerful weapons of a nation's might are not 
gilded helmets nor iron armour. They are the virtues of the 
people. . . . 

"You will see that these conscripts, these sons of yours, 
will be nurtured by the Army. They will be given the 
courage that will impel them to leap like lions on the 
foe . . . the courage that in spite of great odds will endure 
all hardship and advance with the irresistable momentum 
of the mountain torrent that rages down the hill behind me 
here. 

" ... In the moment of national crisis our lives are of 
featherweight significance, and immense treasures as value- 
less as the dust in your streets. 

" . . . Each subject, as each least handful of earth, is in 
the service and possession of the Emperor." 

By any standards it was a good speech and, in its effec- 
tiveness, a great speech. 

All Japanese government and, particularly, military 
propaganda, is directed at the emotions of the masses and 
the troops, rather than the intellect. It is simple, and em- 
ploys the device of repetition of the same ideas over and 
over again. 

The Colonel turned to the conscripts: "Tomorrow you 
will report to your regiment, but today, before you leave, you 
will observe the ancient ritual of your fathers— a ritual that 
your city has done well to preserve. You will repair to your 
homes and there you will prepare yourselves, in reverent 
meditation, for your entry into the Emperor's service. There 
you will bathe, and don the white kimona of the corpse 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 19 



arrayed for burial. You will drink the symbolic, purifying 
cup of clear, cold water. You will say farewell at the ceme- 
tery before the tombs of your ancestors and receive from 
them all the inherited loyalty for the Emperor that your 
family's generations have cherished." 

A few days later I saw the same recruits, with many 
others from neighboring towns and villages, were lined up 
on the parade-ground to receive their rifles. Facing them 
were long wooded racks, filled with rifles. 

A major stepped forward, "Conscripts," he began, "to- 
day you receive your rifles. Your rifle enables you to serve 
the Emperor just as the sword of the samurai made him 
strong and terrible in his feudal Lord's service. You will keep 
its bore as bright and shining as the samurai kept his blade. 
Its rust would be your shame. On the outside it may, like 
yourselves, become stained with the mud and blood of battle, 
but within, like your own warrior's soul, it will remain un- 
tarnished, bright, and shining." 

He then called them, one by one, to the racks, where a 
company commander stood with a rifle in his hands. As 
each soldier stepped forward he bowed reverently before the 
rifle in the captain's hands, took the vertically held weapon, 
with his left hand grasping it at the middle of the barrel, 
and his right at the small of the stock, brought his left hand 
to the level of his brow, again bowed his head, stepped back 
three paces, presented arms, and returned to his place in the 
platoon. This matter of making an obeisance to a rifle is 
something new to us but it is something we must reckon 
with. 

At this time the Second Division was preparing for 
Grand Maneuvers, and practically every day was spent away 
from garrison, in the field, by at least one of the regiments. 
It was a tough life. Officers and men slept in the woods, or 
fields, wrapped only in their overcoats. They were proud 
of the fact that the division lived less in barracks than any 
other division in the army. 

One night a young lieutenant leaped to his feet with a 
yell. Feeling an oppressive weight on his chest he had half 
awakened and dropped his hand on a snake coiled within a 
few inches of his face. When we killed it we found it to be a 
mamushi, one of the most poisonous snakes in Japan. Inci- 
dentally, there is special significance attached to a sort of 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



wine made from its pulverized flesh. It is supposed to have 
certain properties supposedly helpful whenever an officer 
went back to his wife on leave. The wags would say, "Be 
sure, Captain, to have your double serving of mamushi every 
morning this week before you go/' 

We ate the field ration, which is worse than the Japanese 
garrison ration, which is the world's worst food. The latter 
was usually, for breakfast, a bowl of tofu f or soya-bean curd, 
absolutely white and absolutely tasteless unless one put 
some of the famous shoyu sauce on it — a sort of Japanese 
Crosse and Blasckweil's meat sauee that quickly erodes the 
toughest foreign stomach-lining. Lunch meant rice, with 
perhaps a few scraps of pickled fish, plus slices of pickled 
da ikon, the huge Japanese radish. Dinner was raw fish with 
sake, and some rice and sugared beans. 

The diet is sumptuous fare compared with the field 
ration. The Japanese disdain field kitchens ; in the field the 
soldier does his own cooking on those rare occasions when 
-he has the time to fuss with it. Since the Second Division 
was in the field most of the time we habitually subsisted on 
the emergency ration, This meant a small tin of canned 
beef eaten cold from the can and a couple of pieces of hard- 
tack. Sometimes there was an issue of rice or barley or 
both, which could be cooked if water was available and the 
weather was clear. 

Fortunately, the long marches often took us through 
villages and the hospitable country folk would provide small 
portions of chicken, a few cakes, and some jelly beans for 
each man. Their humble thatched cottages were placed at 
the disposal of the officers and men even if it meant the 
family's moving out for the duration. For the tall foreigner 
^Denshin-bashira San (Mr. Telephone-pole ) —there was 
always the best room in the house and an extra helping of 
chicken and a bottle of Biru (beer). Sometimes there was 
Unagi-meshi, a very savory dish of eels, cooked in soya-bean 
sauce ; or perhaps suhiyaki, the best of all Japanese dishes, 
a sort of stew de luxe made of beef or chicken and several 
kinds of vegetables, the whole garnished with tasty sauces 
and small peppers. 

Here, in the hinterland of Japan, one was reminded that 
human nature is universal, that perhaps the hope of the 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 21 



world lies in the simple people of all races and nationalities, 
rather than in the clever who exploit and victimize them. 

The only drawback to these village feasts was that they 
usually lasted all night, or until the colonel of the regiment 
saw fit to leave, which was seldom before all the roosters in 
the village were greeting the dawn. At the outset of these 
village dinners the officers would divest themselves of coats 
and shoes and setttle themselves, crosslegged, on the tatami, 
or floor-mats, for the night. Perhaps they had marched 
twenty or twenty-five miles that day ; it made no difference 
— they were a lusty lot and they never passed up the oppor- 
tunity to enjoy cooked food and warm sake. If any geisha 
were available in the village they would be called in to strum 
the samisen and sing soldier songs. 

The final revelation of what the Jap soldier can endure 
came at 3 a. m. one night when the 20th Infantry regiment 
turned out for a forced march. The men were loaded down 
with 150 rounds of ammunition apiece, plus a forty-five 
pound pack. An hour after the start of the march a driving 
rain began to turn the roads into quagmires of mud. In a 
few minutes, rifles, packs, clothing, shoes, were water- 
soaked. A chill early autumn wind added to the general dis- 
comfort. Seldom has a march been undertaken under more 
uncomfortable and discouraging circumstances. But by mid- 
night the regiment has marched thirty-one miles. Then it 
halted for a half hour to eat and adjust packs. The rest of 
that night, and up to eight the next evening, the regiment 
marched another thirty miles. Then the order came to take 
up a defensive position along a river line. Before the men 
could eat they had to dig 600 yards of trenches. As each 
squad completed its section it took time out to eat a couple 
of nignrimcshi (balls of rice and pickled plums), and then 
fell asleep in its section of trench. 

At 2 a. m., after not more than four hours' sleep, 
sprawled in the narrow trench, the regiment received orders 
to make a forced march back to the regimental area. Up to 
this point the men had marched 61 miles and dug in on a 
defensive position line — all in less than 35 hours, and with no 
more than five hours rest altogether. 

Once again, the regiment took to the road in the dark- 
ness. Except for ten-minute halts every seventy minutes, 



22 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

the regiment marched until 6 a. m., when a twenty-minute 
halt was ordered, to eat breakfast. This consisted of another 
couple of balls of nigurimeski and a bowl of tofu, or soya- 
bean curd, contributed by kind villagers who had prepared 
large wooden pails of it for the troops they had been told 
were coming through. 

The march continued all morning in a broiling sun. 
Another twenty -minute halt came at noon. The afternoon, 
if anything, was hotter than the morning, and sweat poured 
off the men as they slogged along the country roads that 
were deeply rutted after the rains. The straps of their heavy 
packs were biting deeper into their shoulders. The mud of 
the day before turned into clouds of thick dust and a ma- 
jority of the men put on the small cloth strainers that the 
Japanese wear over their noses as a protection against dust, 
germs, or offensive odors. 

About 6 p. m. a large town appeared in the distance. 
As we approached we could see the townsfolk lined up on 
either side of the road to greet the regiment. All the chil- 
dren were waving small flags and shouting, "Banzai! 
Banzai !" 

The major commanding the First Battalion snapped out 
some commands. The commands were passed down the line 
of companies. The bent backs suddenly straightened, rifles 
were snapped to the correct angle of right-shoulder arms, 
left hands began to swing in an exaggerated arc, weary legs 
stiffened at the knee, and the regiment began rigidly goose- 
stepping through the main street of the town. 

Not until the last squad had cleared the end of town did 
the order come to halt; and then the order to drop packs. 
The townspeople came running up with large pails of water, 
trays of sugar-cakes, tofu, glasses of water-ice, and carts 
filled with watermelons. 

"Who pays for this?" I asked the major. 

"Nobody," he replied. "The people like to welcome 
the troops. Besides, some of their own sons are in the 
regiment." 

The soldiers sliced open the watermelons with their 
bayonets ; but each bayonet was carefully wiped off with a 
small cotton towel before they began to eat. 

Half an hour had hardly passed when the order came 
to fall in. On went the heavy packs, rifles were taken from 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



23 



the stacks, the ranks closed up. But before we started there 
was a brief, impressive ceremony. 

The mayor stepped forward, at the invitation of the 
Regimental Commander, and read from a scroll: "The 
packs of our soldiers are heavy as they struggle through the 
mire of our miserable town." 

Then he handed the scroll to the colonel, who read; 
"Since we march in the service of the Emperor, our burdens, 
even unto death itself, are no heavier than the down from 
the breast of a bird/' 

Then all the men in the regiment chanted in a rever- 
ential undertone: "Whether I float as a corpse upon the 
waters, or sink beneath the grasses of the mountain-side, I 
willingly die for the Emperor." 

Tears were trickling down the cheeks of the older 
townsfolk. Even the children were hushed in awe. 
"March 1" came the order. 

The river of packs moved forward. Hour after hour 
the long serpent of weary men struggled through the dark- 
ness. Midnight came, and a twenty-minute halt Then two 
a. m. Twenty-four hours of marching. Three a. m., four, 
then streaks of daylight. Six a. m., and another twenty- 
minute halt and a couple of more balls of nigurimeshi. 

Then up and on. Again the hot sun, and the rivers of 
sweat. The chaffing and banter in ranks had long since died 
down. The dogged silence of iron determination had taken 
its place. Tension was creeping in, too. Three dogs ran 
out from a cluster of farmhouses and yapped at a captain's 
heels. He kicked them away. One returned, snarling. He 
drew his heavy sword and slashed off its front legs. The 
weary column broke into laughter as the screaming, maimed 
thing flopped helplessly about. 

There was no halt at noon. The distant roof-lines of 
Aizu-Wakamatsu, the home station, were shimmering in the 
sun. Five miles, four, three, two, one. 

Then the command, "Double-time!" 

These men were actually reeling with fatigue. They 
had marched 122 miles in seventy-two hours, under a rifle, 
150 rounds of ammunition, and a forty-five pound pack, with 
four hours sleep! And now, "Double-time!" 

The front of the long column broke into a razzed trot 



24 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

Packs jogged up and down on the sweat-soaked backs. A 
lieutenant dropped prone on his face in the dust. 

The gates of the barracks came in sight. The cobble- 
stones rang as the heavy boots stamped down on them. They 
were home — the forced march that perhaps no other army 
in the world could have endured was completed. 

The Colonel sensed resentment at the punishment the 
men suffered in the double-time. Said he : ' 'Tired men can 
always march just one more mile to take another enemy 
position. This is the only way to prove it to them." 

When I interposed that these were merely maneuvers 
he replied, "Maneuvers are war as far as I am coneened." 

A few days later when I asked about the lieutenant who 
had collapsed, I was informed that he had died in the hos- 
pital. He had "lost face" and probably did not try too hard 
to live. 

Every Japanese male grows up with a psychological 
disposition common throughout the Far East. This is what 
is described as the instinct to save face. Originally face- 
saving meant the preservation of one's personal honor. 
More recently it has come to mean preserving the appearance 
of honor even if the honor itself has evaporated. At any 
rate, the Japanese have a deep instinct for preserving the 
status quo of a face and reputation which, honorably, should 
be firm and serene. 

Face saving may be traced to the fact that in compara- 
tively recent times Japan was a feudal society dom- 
inated by soldiers. A soldier's face is obviously victory. 
It is an easy face to lose. Somebody loses every battle. Loss 
of his face, even the approach of defeat or a position suggest- 
ing cowardice, would often lead the honorable samurai to the 
ultimate in face saving, which was honorable suicide. There 
may be a good pragmatic basis for these suicides. The tor- 
ture of prisoners was standard practice in the clan wars of 
Japan and the suicide thereby avoided something worse. 
However that may be, the sharp distinction between victory 
and defeat in battle was good soil for what seems to the West 
to be an extremely vigorous code of honor. 

But face saving might also be said to be merely a more 
formalized expression of personal pride accompanied by a 
great deal of ceremonious tact and an etiquette of its own. 

Perhaps a word about this Jap custom of avenging loss 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



of face would not be amiss here. The samurai are drilled 
in the awesome details of the tragic ceremony day after 
day from earliest youth. So vividly is the technique of this 
act of self-destruction impressed on boyish imagination that 
when Jap officers are confronted with what they consider 
the necessity of performing it, they can meet the awful or- 
deal with complete composure, 

I once heard the exact story of such an act, from the lips 
of a man who had seen it performed before his very eyes. 
My informant was General Ogawa, whose father committed 
hara-kiri a few hours after his superior, General Nogi, had 
done so, The son took great filial pride in his father's action. 

"My father called me," said General Ggawa, "and told 
me that he felt under compulsion to join the spirit of General 
Nogi and that he wished me to assist him in the act of hari- 
kiri, if assistance became necessary through his failure to 
perform it efficiently. I was to stand beside him, slightly to 
his rear, with his great sword (katana) up-raised, and strike 
off his head if all did not go well. 

w I remonstrated with him, because he was yet a com- 
paratively young man, only fifty-one. But he said that he 
had followed General Nogi through many years of difficulty 
and many days of fierce battle and that he was resolved to 
follow him in death. 'The General once called me his beloved 
Samurai. Till this day I had revered the Taisho as a hero. 
Now I know him to have been a god among men. I must be 
with him,' he said. I knew then that I could not prevail upon 
my father to break his resolve. 

"I watched him bathe and put on his white kimona and 
prepare the place for his ending. Then he took up his gold- 
hilted wahazashi, the short sword, wrapped a snow-white 
cloth about its hilt and the upper part of the blade. Slowly 
he thrust the blade deep into his abdomen on the left side 
and then cut across to the right side, turned the blade, and 
cut upwards. His face was very white and tense, and his 
eyes closed as he pushed the blade home. I watched closely 
for any sign of weakness, for that would have been the sig- 
nal for me to have decapitated him, but there was none. He 
was a great warrior and a true Samurai." 

Here was the commander of the 29th Regiment of In- 
fantry of the Second Division of the Imperial Japanese 
Army— in the Twentieth Century— telling, proudly, calmly, 



26 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



impassively, the tragic details of an act of self-destruction 
on the part of his own father. In its motivation and circum- 
stances the whole thing was quite beyond the comprehension 
of the rational occidental mind. But in its very weirdness 
lay a suggestion as to the formidability of a nation that has 
been an insoluble enigma for centuries to the psychologist 
and ethnologist 

The Jap officer is prone to commit hara-kiri not only in 
moods of spiritual exaltation or depression, or when in dis- 
grace, or about to be captured in battle, but sometimes 
merely for the purpose of emphatic protest against some- 
thing to which he is opposed. 

Because Japan made certain concessions to the United 
States and Great Britain at the London Naval Conference 
in 1930, Lieutenant Sadao Kusukura committed hara-kiri 
kneeling in the berth of a train. 

Following the murders of premiers, plutoeats, "anti- 
army traitors," and liberals by young army-officer assassins 
in 1933, an emotional frenzy, which reached its height dux*- 
ing the trial of the killers, took possession of the Japanese 
people. 

Practically all of the Japanese newspapers supported 
the public clamor for the release of the criminals, for such 
they were. Millions of soldiers, sailors (including officers) 
and civilians assembled at gigantic mass meetings demand- 
ing pardon for the "super-patriots." 

The judges of the civil, military, and naval courts in- 
volved, as well as government officials connected with the 
trials, were deluged with petitions totalling millions of signa- 
tures and their mail brought thousands of threats. Thous- 
ands of signatures were written in blood, and many of the 
petitions were accompanied by fingers, wrapped in silk floss, 
that the petitioners had chopped on° their own hands to prove 
their sincerity and the depth of their emotion. 

The Meirinkai, a reactionary but powerful association 
of retired army and navy officers, delivered a warning to the 
judges to release the accused men . . . "or else." 

It would have taken moral and physical courage of the 
highest order to have condemned the culprits to death, and 
the judges did not possess it. 

Not only that, but the court made the perhaps inten- 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



27 



tional error of giving the accused short prison terms thereby 
investing them with the halo of martyrdom as well as the 
accolade of heroism. 

Admiral Takarabe, Chief of the Japanese Naval Dele- 
gation to the London Conference, had a super-patriot break 
into his office to present a hysterical protest regarding 
Japan's "defeat" at the Conference. The visitor then sat 
down on the floor, removed his upper garments, and slit his 
belly in the traditional fashion. 

As the appointed day for the Grand Maneuvers drew 
nearer, the training of our division intensified. Most of 
the exercises had as their obvious objective the strengthen- 
ing of the spirit of the offensive. The technique of pene- 
trating wired-in enemy positions was particularly stressed. 
In the simulated attacks by day the leading echelons would 
throw themselves, face down, their arms folded over their 
eyes, into the belts of babed wire, and succeeding echelons 
would leap on and over the human bridge of their prostrate 
comrades. The Division Commander said, "It is easier to 
learn how to do this here than it will be under fire." 

Every evening, whether after a thirty-mile march, or a 
day of exhausting field exercises and trench-digging, every 
soldier in the division somewhere, somehow, found water 
and soap and scrubbed himself with a vengance. Then, 
stripped to the waist, he went to work on his weapons, care- 
fully cleaning and oiling his rifle after he had removed the 
bolt, rubbing the wodden stock with the palm of his hand, 
and then polishing it with a piece of silk or a soft cloth. 
The bayonet was not neglected. It came in for careful in- 
spection and cleaning with tissue paper. A few drops of 
oil were dropped on the paper, if oil was available. Machine 
guns and automatic rifles were stripped down and given a 
thorough cleaning and oiling, 

He gives his weapons equally good care in the field in 
time of war. In China, Malaya, and Luzon no dirty rifles, 
machine guns or bayonets were found among the hundreds 
that came into allied hands. Nor was there dirt or rust on 
other weapons. 

The Japanese officer is even more meticulous in the 
cleaning and care of his side arms and personal field equip- 
ment, particularly his sword. Often the latter is a familv 



28 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

treasure, handed down from father to son for generations, 
and the owners of these priceless heirlooms give them loving 
attention. 

Most of the officers of the Second Division carried one 
of these, even on the long marches, and gave far more at- 
tention to its care than they did to their own health. It 
was customary to see an officer, after a grueling day in 
the field, slip into his yukata (light cotton kimono), tie a 
handkerchief over his nose and mouth so that he would not 
breathe moisture on the blade, and then remove his long 
sword from his sheath. 

Then he would produce a small cloth bag of very fine 
powder and "pat" the whole length of the blade with it until 
both sides of the steel were covered with a white powder- 
nlm. 

With soft tissue paper he would gradually remove the 
powder from the blade and then polish its brilliant surface 
with a white silk handkerchief. 

Some officers concluded the rite — for such it was — 
with this polishing ; others went a step further and, putting 
a few drops of tsubaki-abura (oil made from the azalea 
bush and used almost exclusively for the care of swords) on 
a clean white cloth, would anoint the blade with it before 
putting the sword back in its sheath. 

One night my regiment had to attack a particularly 
strong position where two enemy battalions were holding a 
rather long ridge. "This will be very difficult/' said one of 
the staff officers. "Last year we were assigned to hold that 
ridge with a similar force. Every time the 'enemy' tried a 
flank attack we could hear him coming in time to move our 
strength to the threatened flank. At night the men moving 
through the long grass made a loud noise that can be heard 
a considerable distance." 

I made a suggestion. "Why don't you confuse the de- 
fending force by having a few of your men drag long poles 
through the grass on the flank opposite to the one you are 
going to attack? That is what our American Indians would 

do." 

"Ah, very new stuff," chuckled one of the battalion 
commanders, who was proud of his smattering of English 
slang. 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 29 



"New stuff for you, but very old stuff for Sitting Bull," 
I replied. 

Using this stratagem, they took the hill. Later, the 
colonel wanted to know what books on military tactics had 
been written by Sitting Bull, . , . 

On another day, the division received notification that 
it would be called upon to make a daylight assault with the 
bayonet. The samurai's instinct for the edged blade goes 
far to explain what had been difficult for the occidental mind 
to grasp — the Japanese emphasis on, and proclivity to use, 
the bayonet. It is the Japanese soldier's favorite too!. Fif- 
teen and a half inches long and fourteen ounces in weight, 
this rough specimen of mass machine-production cannot 
compare in appearance and finish with the hand-forged 
samurai blades, but it appeals to the infantryman's inherited 
instinct for cold steel and it is seldom in its scabbard. It is 
well taken care of. There are no stained or rusty bayonets ' 
in the Japanese Amy. 

Just before the echelons were to jump off, word was 
passed along the line that Tenshi Sama, the Prince Regent 
(now Emperor Hirohito), was to observe the attack, a 
greatly increased tension gripped the whole assault force. 
Each company, each platoon, each squad, each man was 
electrified by the news. The line gave off that definite odor 
of animal excitement which is often in evidence at prize- 
fights. 

So far as they were concerned at the moment, these men 
were actually in battle. Up the hill they went, screaming 
staccato battle cries, shouting the names of their ancestors 
who had died in ancient conflicts. As they neared the 
"enemy" intrenchments, the excitement heightened to 
frenzy. This was a preview of the real thing we were to wit- 
ness years later on Bataan, when waves of Japs, demoniacal 
in the ferocity of their attacks, were to hit our lines day 
after day, night after night. 

As the first wave of attackers reached the trenches just 
below the crest of the hill, the yell of the defenders was added 
to the din of simulated battle. Machine guns and rifles were 
firing thousands of pounds of blank ammunition. Thick 
yellow smoke from canisters of lachymatory gas was obscur- 
ing the ridge. Land-mines kicked up cascades of earth under 
the feet of the attacking infantry. 



30 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

Up and over they went, the naked bayonets of the de- 
fenders crossed with those of the assault troops. A number 
of men received bad wounds. Many more were cut One 
had a bayonet thrust clean through his shoulder, just under 
the collar-bone. 

"What punishment will be given the soldier who in- 
flicted that wound?" I asked his company commander. 

"Why should he be punished for attaining the real spirit 
of battle ?" was the reply. "He has already apologized to the 
wounded man." 

Later that evening, General Ogawa, commenting on the 
incident, said, "It is a satisfaction to me to see such evidence 
of the innate aggressive impulses of the Japanese infantry." 

Then we all went to see a heroic tableau staged by some 
members of the victorious force. One of the actor's lines 
was: 

"Careless of the corpses of the fallen piled in heaps, 
heedless of rivers of blood flowing on every hand, we con- 
centrate only upon the fulfilment of the Emperor's com- 
mands and the duty of sacrificing ourselves in the realization 
of his designs." 

The Jap fighting-man's instant readiness to sacrifice 
his life has been frequently illustrated since that time. I 
have previously referred to the "Three Human Torpedoes" 
and the mass suicide on Bataan. 

Another graphic illustration was furnished by a naval 
action in Japa waters, here reported for the first time. One 
of our gunboats was attacked by Jap bombers in the open 
sea. Her AA fought them off, and shot down one of the 
planes in the last wave — a huge four-motored torpedo-plane 
carrying three torpedoes. The plane hit the water and 
floated. Immediately the crew of eight Japs dove overboard, 
knowing that the American guns would make short shrift 
of the plane. This they did, blowing her to bits. The Heron } 
still circling in anticipation of further bombing attacks, ap- 
proached the eight Japs in the water and threw them life 
lines. Not a single Jap would touch one of the lines. There 
in the open sea, miles from any land, they preferred certain 
death to rescue and surrender. It takes fanatical determina- 
tion to prevent a man who faces drowning from grasping at 
the rope to safety. 

Similarly, the Japs on Bataan sacrificed themselves 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 31 

blindly on a number of occasions. Three or four of them 
would suicidally expose themselves to sure death in the open 
in order to draw the fire of a hidden American machine gun, 
thereby revealing the location of the gun to spotters for 
their mortars and artillery. 

Referring again to the "psychological conditioning" of 
the conscripts before they enter barracks, the officer knows 
that the school and the home have already done considerable 
spade-work along that line. 

All Japanese education is pointed to the training of the 
individual, not for independent action but for cooperative 
action. When he first toddles to school the training and 
discipline to which he is subjected are designed to rlt him 
into an exact place in the mechanism of a rigid social ma- 
chinery. As he progresses through his schooling the con- 
straint tightens and the discipline closes in with increasing 
severity. With us the opposite is true; constraint relaxes 
as we progress. 

As soon as the young Japanese enters school life his in- 
doctrination with the agressive Bushido ideology begins. 
The Department of Education, with the assistance of all psy- 
chological aids at its command, has seen to it that the old 
Bushido has been codified and formulated and converted 
into a dynamic military way of life for the nation. This 
dynamism, essentially militaristic in its aggressiveness, has 
dominated Japan in an ever intensifying upsurge of action- 
ism since the Manchurian Incident in 1931. 

The army officer who gets the young Jap later on knows 
that all through the latter's education the emphasis has been 
placed upon absolute emotionalized faith in the Emperor, 
which, whenever the Army gives the word, is whipped up 
by carefully inspired hatred, revenge, and hysterical enthu- 
siasms. The Japanese General Staff knows that it is not 
reason but emotional impulses that make men fight, and it 
has been careful to see that the symbols to arouse deep emo- 
tional responses in the child and the man are always sup- 
plied. By all the subtle means at its command, and that the 
Oriental mind can devise, it implants in the young Japanese 
the conviction that his Empire is divine and the corollary 
conviction that it is invincible, and ordained to impose its 
benificent imperialism on the world. 

The Nogi home, where the General and his wife com- 



32 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



mitted hara-kiri and jigai (the equivalent of hara-kiri, in 
which the woman pierces her throat with a dagger), is 
visited daily by never-ending files of school-children, under 
charge of their teachers, by army and navy reservists, and 
newly-conscripted youths. 

The Yasukuni-iinga, famous military shrine in Tokyo 
to the memory of departed heroes, is always thronged with 
soldiers and sailors, large groups of whom are daily brought 
from all over Japan to imbibe the atmosphere of heroic self- 
sacrifice. There you will see them, caps in hand, bowing in 
deep reverence before the spirits of those whose exploits in 
battle they are eager to emulate. 

On on occasion I was invited to visit Yasukuni-jinga 
with General Ugaki, then Minister of War and later several 
times Premier. One hundred thousand schoolboys were 
assembled at the shrine, participating in a memorial service 
to the dead of the Russo-Japanese War. General Ugaki 
looked over the thousands upon thousands of youths in uni- 
form, smiled, and said, "Thus we plant the hemp in prepara- 
tion for the braiding of the rope." 

During the Shinto rites before the Shokonsha, the 
*' Spirit-Invoking Temple" where the spirits of all who die 
for the Emperor are believed to gather, a general read the 
reply of Admiral Togo, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese 
fleet, to an Imperial message of commendation sent to him 
after his second attempt to block the entrance to Port 
Arthur. Togo replied: 

'The warm message which your Imperial Majesty con- 
descended to grant us has not only overwhelmed us with 
gratitude but may also influence the patriotic 'manes' of the 
departed heroes to hover long over the battlefield and give 
unseen protection to the Imperial forces." 

That was Togo's faith and it was the faith of all those 
hundred thousand. While his message was being read with 
great solemnity they could hear the rustle of a myriad wings 
and feel the presence of the shadowy hosts who had died in 
battle for the Emperor "through all the ages eternal." That 
was in their faces. 

Of course the note is struck again and again, of the 
divinity of the Emperor and Japan's divine mission to rule 
the world. There are many who dispute the authenticity of 
the notorious "Tanaka Memorial" which documented Japan's 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



33 



assertion to world domination. But the credence to be given 
the document would seem to be beside the point when the 
following statements on the part of various Japanese leaders 
and statesmen are examined. 

About the time that he led Japan's delegation out of the 
hall of the League of Nations, in a white heat of anger, 
Yosuke Matsuoka challenged the world by declaring; 
"Providence calls on Japan to undertake the mission of de- 
livering humanity from the impasse of modern material 
civilization." 

The instrument to effect this delivery was to be, no 
doubt, the Japanese Army. 

At the ceremonial naming of the present Emperor 
Doctor Ichimura, the ranking Court scholar, expressed, in 
archaic, classical language, the present-day attitude of 
Japan; "The essence of ruling the people lies in the enlight- 
ening of them. ... If there are persons not yet properly 
governed it is because they have not yet benefitted by the 
Imperial Rule. ... If those who have not yet received en- 
lightenment under the Imperial Rule are anywhere to be 
found, they are to be subjugated" 

That is plain enough, but listen to General Shomei 
Nonaka ; 

"Peace will come when the whole ivorld is under one 
government. Each existing nation was produced by the 
conquest of many tribes, and when its central power is 
strong, peace prevails within it. The ultimate conclusion of 
politics is the conquest of the world by one imperial power. 
Which nation is likely to be the conqueror of the world ? That 
nation which is strongly united in patriotism, has unquench- 
able imperial ambitions, and the willingness to make every 
sacrifice for the ultimate goal. In the present contest for 
world power Japan cannot afford to indulge in temporary 
dreams of prosperity or partial advancement. The Japanese 
nation, in view of her glorious history and position, is brac- 
ing itself to fill her destined role." 

All such statements are reiterated again and again in all 
class-rooms throughout the school system and constitute an 
important part of the mental and psychological conditioning 
of the future soldier that I have previously referred to. 

The young get large doses, repeated daily, of what the 
army wants the schools to give them. When visiting any of 



34 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



the schools it is interesting to note the many exhortions 
to loyalty enscrolled over the doorways and blackboards. 

"Loyalty is indeed our highest good and all virtuous 
action originates therein." 

"Loyalty is the pillar that supports the state. It is the 
very life of every subject of the Imperial divinity.'* 

"To serve the Emperor with single-hearted loyalty, and 
to sacrific oneself courageously for the public good, are our 
natural duties. They remain unaltered by the passage of 
time. They are the superlative treasures of the Japanese 
subject by reason of which he rises superior to all foreign 
peoples" 

"We, his subjects, hold our Emperor in reverent awe, 
regarding him as the source and centre of our national life." 

The fomative years of the child and youth are filled with 
daily, one might say hourly, repetition of these platitudes 
and injunctions. The army's objective is to develop loyalty 
in the individual to the point where it includes a sacrificial 
quality that will make its possessor capable of sacrificial 
service. 

The army sees to it, therefore, that, from ail sides, in 
the home, the temple, the class-room, the barracks, the plas- 
tic mind of youth is moulded to the army pattern and pur- 
poses. 

The Japanese officer also knows that when the conscript 
reports for duty he is already, at least in mental attitude, a 
soldier. 

His military training began at the age of six when he 
strapped on his first knapsack (filled with schoolbooks) and 
goose-stepped around the school-yard singing military songs. 
At the age of twelve he is in uniform, brass buttons and all, 

NOTE: Since the day when a ten-year-old Prince 
Regent, seeing soldiers drilling with knapsacks on their 
backs, asked for one for himself, every boy and girl in 
Japan carries his or her lunch and books to school in a minia- 
ture knapsack. 

and carrying a light rifle on his shoulder. Not only that but 
he is already participating in annual maneuvers, under the 
instruction of army officers, and handling light field-guns 
and hand-grenades. At fifteen he is shouting battle-cries as 
he charges up a hill to take a simulated enemy position with 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 35 

the bayonet; he is throwing live grenades, and driving ply- 
board tanks through the fields near his school. His sister is 
also being taught the knack of being almost comfortable in 
a gas mask while she chalks up bulls-eyes on the school tar- 
get range. At eighteen he has already marched twenty-five 
miles in a day with his school-battalion, rifle, pack, and all ; 
dug trenches, filled in latrines, strung barbed wire, acquired 
some degree of proficiency in mapping, and a basic knowl- 
edge of soldiering. 

He has been in the field, on extended maneuvers, where 
he forded shoulder-deep, ice-cold mountain streams, slogged 
through mud and dust, and cooked his handful of rice in a 
little bucket over an open fire with perhaps a few sardines 
and a swallow of tea to wash it down. 

Little by little, step by step, he is carefully habituated 
to hardship and danger by difficult marches and maneuvers 
closely imitating battle conditions, by prearranged incon- 
veniences, and rough sports and athletics. 

Back to school again, after days in the field, he has 
resumed his schedule of reporting at six a. m. on cold winter 
mornings for fencing and judo (wrestling) practice in an 
open-air gymnasium. 

Watching the young lads fence with wooden swords it 
is interesting to note that in delivering the slash with both 
hands he does not pull the blade towards him, as we would 
do, but pushes it away from him. 

We employ the same principle in the use of the sword 
that we do in the use of the wedge. He uses the principle of 
the saw, and a pushing motion in the stroke where we use 
the pull. 

When, later on, he is using his two-handed blade in bat- 
tle he adheres to this sawing principle in delivering the blow. 

While the Second Division was maneuvering in the 
mountainous region around Bandai-San we often passed 
whole regiments of small boys with rifles, knapsacks, and 
blankets, trudging up the mountainsides under the command 
of retired NCO's. At other times we watched them practic- 
ing open-order drill and charging with the bayonet, their 
childish faces contorted diabolically and shrilling battle- 
cries as they ran forward against a simulated enemy. 

Yes, the army officer knows his material is fairly well 
"broken in" by the time it is turned over to him. 



36 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

The officer is well aware, too, that the conscript will 
accept the restraints of army life as he accepts the nineteen 
years of regimentation that precede it Japan is a far more 
realistic country than Germany or Italy, and the peoples of 
the latter two countries have no conception of what "regi- 
mentation" means when compared with what the people of 
Japan have not only endured, but passively accepted, for 
centuries. Military life in Japan is not confined to the period 
the conscript is in military service. It is the way of life, from 
birth to death, of the entire nation. That is another impor- 
tant factor that is most often overlooked when Westerners 
make an appraisal of the fighting strength of the Japanese 
people. 

The General Staff and every officer in the army knows 
that it is the centuries of repressive discipline, accepted as 
a natural law by the masses of the people, that has given 
Japan the moral strength that is the real source and sub- 
stance of her aggressive restraint, accompanied by a pan- 
banging, tub-thumping patriotism and an increasingly vio- 
lent propaganda of a nti- American imperialism, developed, 
like boiling water in a kettle, an explosive force that had to 
find eventual release in war. 

The western world has never known such restraints 
as the multitudinous, minute, and exacting restrictions pas- 
sively endured by the Japanese people for centuries. 

Each feudal ruler dictated, in detail, how the various 
classes of commoners in his province, man, woman, or child, 
should speak, work, dress, walk, sit, drink, and eat, and even 
think. The peasent could not roof his cottage with tiles or 
shingles- He had to use thatch. He could use only a mini- 
mum of dishes at meals, and these had to be the commonest 
earthenware. When his child was born it could receive only 
two or three gifts and these could not exceed a few cents in 
value. His womanfolk could wear only wooden clogs and 
only certain specified hair ornaments. If he or his wife 
presumed to wear a silken garment they were liable to 
execution. He could not show resentment at this regimen- 
tation. Any manifestation of suHenness was a capital of- 
fense. He had to be extremely careful about the way he 
smiled. If he showed his back teeth in a smile while addres- 
sing a samurai or other supeior he could be cut down, and 
often was. 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 37 

He was mercilessly flogged for the most trivial and un- 
intentional offenses. He or his wife were liable to death by 
torture if they did not show pleasure at the news that a be- 
loved son had been killed in battle. 

Although the penalties may be less dreadful the regula- 
tions governing the existence of the individual Japanese are 
hardly less onerous today. Police surveillance is, if any- 
thing, intensified. Municipal and prefectural police may 
enter any home at any hour of the day or night, without 
warrant of search, interrogate the inmates, and remove any 
article on the premises that it is their whim to take with 
them. It is customary for the police to make periodic "sani- 
tary" inspections of all homes and premises, during which 
every closet, drawer, trunk, and recess is ransacked. 

Even today the wife has to obey implicitly and docilely 
the dictum of her lord and master. The father still holds 
power of life and death over the family, and it is a common 
occurrence for a father to slay a son or daughter for lack 
of filial piety. In a recent famous case the judge exonerated 
the head of a family for such a murder with the comment : 
"Loyalty to the Emperor flowers in the home where filial 
piety flourishes." 

All throughout Japanese history the individual's sur- 
vival has been conditioned on implicit obedience, beginning 
in the home and extending outward and upward through all 
classes and strata of society. Pitiless suppression and ruth- 
less regulation finally compressed and limited the Japanese 
mind to the point where the coercion and regimentation of 
the individual was not only demanded by superior authority 
but maintained by habit of mind from within. 

In the end it was a self-imposed discipline that fixed the 
national character and moulded the world's most inscrutable 
psychology. 

It is this self-imposed discipline that renders the con- 
script so ready to accept, and amendable to, the rigorous 
discipline of the army. 

As General Hayashi put it one day, "The steel is already 
tempered — it only remains for us to shape it into swords," 

Colonel R, S. Eratton, War Department General Staff, 
and the only Occidental ever to graduate from the "Riku-gun 
Dai Gakko" (the Imperial General Staff College), Tokyo, 
included some interesting paragraphs in his final report, 



38 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



which bear out my own observations while with the Jap- 
anese Army. 

In the foreward of his report he says: "This report is 
in many ways incomplete, and lacking in the details of cer- 
tain desired information. This is due to no lack of effort on 
my part, but to the fact that certain phases of instruction 
at the Staff College are not for foreign consumption." 

NOTE: The ageement between the United States and 
Japanese Governments governing exchange of officers at 
Service Schools provided for unresticted access to school 
curricula. We placed few, if any, obstacles in the way of 
Japanese "Exchange Officers" at our Command and General 
Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In other words, 
we adhered to the agreement — the Japanese did not. 

"Such subjects as Staff Work, Logistics, Organization, 
Supply, and Evacuation are cloaked in an impenetrable fog 
of obscurity — the watchwords are 'himitsu' and 'kimitsu' 
{'confidential' and 'secret') . The task of the foreign student 
bent on securing information is, in consequence, not an easy 
one. The data bearing on the above mentioned subjects that 
I have recorded herein (in report) were obtained in spite of, 
rather than because of, the College Staff and Faculty." 

Colonel Eratton points out an important educational 
advantage Japanese army officei's have when he writes : 

"Since units of the Japanese Army are always at au- 
thorized strength, and since they are grouped and located 
for tactical and strategical rather than political reasons, 
there are always suitable tactical units available for the 
practical instruction of Staff College students in the tactics 
and technique of the various arms." 

The preliminary annual examination of applicants for 
the Imperial General Staff College is held yearly at the head- 
quarters of the various divisions of the army. It is written, 
and includes tests in the following subjects: Tactics- weap- 
ons; fortifications; topography; communications; transpor- 
tation; military organization; foreign languages, math- 
ematics ; and history. 

Prior to the present war an average of five hundred 
applicants took this preliminary examination each year and 
over fifty percent were eliminated. The remainder were 
permitted to compete in the final examination, held at the 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 39 



General Staff College. The results of this final examination 
are submitted to the Chief of the General Staff, who, in 
consultation with the Minister of War, selects the fifty appli- 
cants that he deems most suitable as general staff officers. 

Officers of the noncombatant branches are, of course, 
not eligible. 

This constitutes a severe process of selection by elimina- 
tion, and the system resulted in the selection of the cream 
of the officers in the army for this coveted Staff College 
assignment. 

Colonel Eratton bears me out in another interesting 
point when he writes: "The Staff College is pervaded with 
an atmosphere of unbending severity and the most serious- 
minded endeavor. The characteristic racial lack of perspec- 
tive, and the absence of a saving sense of humor are evi- 
denced here to a marked degree . ■ . 

" . . . The pronouncements of the Staff and Faculty 
are accepted with awe and even reverence. During the en- 
tire year of my attendance I never heard an instructor's de- 
cision or solution criticized, or even discussed or questioned. 
There is a complete absence of the good-natured 'chaff/ 
'banter,' 'grousing/ and argument with which, in our Service 
Schools, we endeavor to lighten the tedium and monotony of 
study. No recreational facilities are provided. The officer 
student is required to do such an enormous amount of home 
study and research that he seldom gets to bed before 2:00 
a. m. This state of affairs is accepted without protest/' 

Touching on the treatment of foreign students at the 
school Colonel Bratton continues : "The lot of the foreign 
student is even harder, because of the many additional re- 
strictions imposed upon him, and the atmosphere of distrust 
and suspicion in which he has to move. In my own case, I 
was always treated with courtesy. The impression was 
strong, however, that I was in the nature of a necessary 
evil, one to be watched carefully, and tolerated only because 
of orders from higher authority." 

Colonel Bratton's experience at the Imperial Staff Col- 
lege duplicated my own with the Second Division in another 
particular. He continues: "Foreign students at the Staff 
College are not encouraged to mingle with their Japanese 
classmates. They are provided with a separate study room 
and are even grouped together when admitted to the same 



40 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



classroom as the Japanese students. As a general rule, I 
was admitted to the same classroom as the Japanese students 
only for recitations in general tactics and military history. 
I was excluded from all class conferences, lectures, prob- 
lems, map maneuvers in supply, evacuation, troop move* 
ments by rail and boat, naval tactics, organization, staff 
work, and kindred subjects. Such instruction as I received 
in these was given in a separate room by a special instructor 
who dealt only in dull, uninteresting, and valueless generali- 
ties. I was excluded from the trip in May to Manchuria, to 
study the battlefields of the Russo-Japanese War, and my 
order for attachment to the Fifth Air Regiment, for 15 days 
in August, was countermanded at the last moment, without 
explanation, although the Chinese officer students were al- 
lowed to go on this Air Corps troop duty. 

"My requests for information bearing on staff work, 
supply, and logistics were met with evasions or the bald 
statement that this instruction was not to be given to foreign 
students. 

"By way of illustrating this point, and to emphasize the 
difficulties and handicaps which beset the U. S. "Exchange 
Officer, " I invite attention to the following questions, and the 
answers thereto. Apparently embarrassed by the amount 
of instuction from which I had been excluded, Lieut. Colonel 
Hata, the instructor in tactics charged with the general 
supervision of foreign students, told me in September that 
if there were any particular matters on which I desired his 
help and information he would be glad to assist me. He 
suggested that I state in detail in writing the data I desired. 
As Colonel Hata had spent six months at our Field Artillery 
School at Fort Sill and six months with one of our artillery 
regiments at Fort Eustis, I really thought that his sugges- 
tion might be productive of results. Consequently I drew 
up a set of questions in Japanese and submitted them to him. 
A month later I received a document back, not written but 
mimeographed (apparently for distribution to others), and 
headed, "Questions asked by the American Officer, Major 
Bratton, together with the answers thereto." It had ap- 
parently been circulated among members of the Staff and 
Faculty, and had, no doubt, afforded them much satisfaction 
and amusement. The following are translated extracts from 
this document: 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



11 



"Question : What is the organization of the division 
staff? Into how many sections is it divided? How many 
officers by grade are assigned to each section? What are 
their duties? 

"Answer ; This is very secret and cannot be explained, 
"Question : How many rounds of artillery and infantry 

ammunition are carried in the division, and where? 

"Answer: This is very secret. Maybe same in every 

country ? 

"Question: How many trains of how many cars each 
are required to move a complete division by rail? 

"Answer: This is very secret and cannot be explained. 

"And so on, for several pages. To say that I felt ex- 
asperated, if not somewhat humiliated, is to put it mildly," 

At the Imperial Staff College the first year is devoted 
to study of the reinforced brigade and the independent divi- 
sion ; the second year to the division within the army ; and 
the postgraduate year to the army group, mobilization, 
strategy, logistics, major problems in procuement and sup- 
ply, and kindred subjects. 

Ey way of comparison it may be said that the first year 
here approximates in scope the advanced course at our In- 
fantry School; the second and third years approximate the 
two-year course at our Command and General Staff School ; 
and the postgraduate year resembles the course at our 
Army War College. 

It cannot be said that the Japanese staff officer neglects 
any of the essential elements of a well-rounded military 
education. His curricula at the Imperial General Staff 
College includes the following: 



Staff work 
Naval tactics 
Military history 
General tactics 
Permanent fortification 
Railroad operation 
Economics 
Landing operations 
Map maneuvers 
Fortress tactics 

tary history trips to Manchuria to study the bat- 




42 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



tlefields of the Russo-Japanese War; visits of inspection to 
nearby coast defenses; visits of inspection to naval bases; 
command post exercises; regimental duties; terrain exer- 
cises; study at Bureau of Land Survey; study at Motor 
Transport School; conferences at Naval War College; In- 
structional visits to plane and engine factories; conferences 
at Army Veterinary Hospital ; conferences at Army Medical 
Supply Depot; instruction at Army Medical School. 

In another part of his report Colonel E ration gives 
an interesting sidelight on the training of cavalry officers; 
"During the period August 16th to September 3d I was 
attached to the 15th (Army) Cavalry in Narashino, Chiba. 
My first forty-eight hours' duty included participation in 
a 95-kilometer cavalry practice march which included ma- 
neuvers morning, afternoon, and night. The instruction 
during the remainder of the period of attachment was car- 
ried out at the same hectic pace. I thought at first that 
all of this feverish activity was staged for the special bene- 
fit of General Staff School students, but I discovered later 
that we were witnessing and participating in nothing more 
than routine training. 

"Training lectures were given on a variety of subjects, 
ranging from the tactics and technique of cavalry to the 
care and feeding of animals. The bulk of the instruction, 
however, was practical rather than theoretical, students 
being assigned for this purpose to command units from the 
platoon to the regiment, both inclusive, for marches and 
maneuvers, both day and night." 

At this point Colonel Bratton spikes the old canard 
about the inferiority of Japanese cavalry by stating; "I 
was very favorably impressed with the state of training, 
morale, discipline, and esprit-de-corps of this regiment. In 
fact, I have never seen better cavalry in any army." 

The principal reason for the fine condition and high 
degree of training of Japanese cavalry horses lies in the 
manner of their schooling. New horses, fresh from the 
remount depot, are turned over to the regimental horse- 
trainers, a corps of experts of special rating who do no 
other work. These men gentle and school the horses for a 
period of twelve months. During this whole period no one 
but the designated trainer is allowed to handle any horse. 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 43 

At the end of this first twelve-months' period the horse is 
rated as "partially trained" and is issued to a soldier. This 
man completes the training of the mount during the follow- 
ing twelve months. He is used in ordinary drills and ma- 
neuvers, but is not used during the fall brigade and army 
maneuvers, because the latter would be too great a tax on 
his strength. No animal is rated as a trained mount until 
completion of these two years of schooling. 

Colonel Bratton cites two instances that indicate the 
high degree of training achieved by men and animals in 
the Japanese cavalry: "During the course of a practice 
march the 4th Troop went into billets in a strange village 
at 7 : 00 P. M„ picketing the animals in a pine grove nearby. 
At 11 :00 P. M. the officers and men got out of bed, clothed 
and armed themselves, watered the animals, saddled up, led 
out, and mounted for a night march without using lights 
of any sort, and without making a sound that could be 
heard fifty feet from the picket line. On another occasion, 
on a moonless night, the troop, on outpost duty with the 
reserve in bivouac in a dense pine grove, picketed its ani- 
mals among the trees, cooked and ate individual meals in 
an hour and a half over two carefully concealed charcoal- 
pit fires, without the aid of lights and without any noise 
or confusion. The platoon later repulsed a night attack 
against the outpost line of resistance without any excite- 
ment or confusion on the part of men or animals." 

In their initial onset in Malaya and Luzon the Japs 
showed that they had prepared for years, not only for war 
with China, but with major Western powers as well. 

Their pre-war preparations were thorough. When 
I told a Japanese officer in Bangkok that I had seen some of 
the training of their pre-war Army, he replied : "Perhaps, 
but you still know very little about our present-day force. 
The Japanese Army of 1938 is out of date compared with 
the Japanese Army of 1942," 

Of course the Gaimusho, or Japanese Foreign Office, 
had been used for the past twenty years to mask the de- 
signs and moves of the Army. Since the Manchurian Inci- 
dent in 1931, the Army, which inherited the status and 
privileges of the Samurai, has been acting in its traditional 
role as the leader of the nation. Particularly since the im- 



44 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



position of economic sanctions against Japan it has reduced 
civil government to a subordinate role and dominated if, 
indeed, it did not suspend, politics. 

The Army began the Manchurian adventure without 
the knowledge or consent of the Gaimitsho, and it attacked 
China in 1937 despite popular and governmental opposition. 

Its brains is the General Staff, which is wholly re- 
sponsible for the marvel ously organized and highly efficient 
Army of today. The General Staff, for ten years, used 
China as a training ground for men and a testing ground 
for materiel. It was the General Staff that developed the 
tactics pecularly suited to the Malaya, Luzon and south- 
west Pacific theaters of operations. When it comes to such 
mundane things as administration the Japanese General 
Stan leaves the Army "severely alone"— "does nothing," 
as the Army puts it. 

It deals largely in the intangible called "thought." 
Its metier is to plot, plan, reflect, coordinate, suggest, weigh, 
observe. It conjectures what the enemy may do and what 
Japanese generals should do to meet him. 

Policy in war and the elucidation of all pending mili- 
tary problems is its special function. It has done every- 
thing possible to develop and exploit the traditional national 
aptitude for warlike enterprises and the inherent capacity 
for organization. 

It is the Japanese General Staff that made the 1942 
Japanese Army the tremendous striking force it is. and it 
was the General Staff that directed the bold and effective 
use of Japanese superiority in men and materiel to conquer 
the great bastions of Allied naval power in the Western 
Pacific. It is the General Staff that mobilized every human 
and material resource in the empire for the present struggle. 

The Jap fighting man had the way prepared for him 
in the Far Eastern and South-West Pacific theaters of oper- 
ations by an army of over 200,000 paid and schooled pro- 
fessional Japanese agitators who were, until December 
1941, at work in India, Burma, Thailand, In do-China, 
British Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies and Borneo, 
with telling effect. The scope and intensity of their ac- 
tivities were greatly increased when Captain Fritz Wiede- 
mann, former German Consul-General in San Francisco, 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 45 



assumed directional control of Japan's propaganda machin- 
ery. 

During the months of September, October, and No- 
vember 1941, he had it delivering hammer blows at the 
foundations of the British Empire in the Far East. 

He suspended all propaganda activities of the organiza- 
tion along cultural, educational, and political lines and di- 
rected its full force and effectiveness to one objective — the 
focusing of the attention of 600 million native peoples on 
their own physical suffering and the cause of it. 

It was a master stroke. In three months he secured 
more devastating results than the Japanese had been able 
to achieve in ten years with the same machinery. 

When the United States instituted economic sanctions 
against Japan, one of the immediate results was to de- 
prive the teeming low-income races of the Far East of the 
cheap Japanese cotton goods with which they clothed them- 
selves, as well as the cheap sneakers, shoes, canned goods 
and other Japanese products. 

When any men, more especially primitive peoples, are 
deprived of the essentials of living, a resentment is aroused 
that increases in geometrical proportions to their suflerings 
and want. 

The Japanese propaganda machine, under Wiede- 
mann's astute direction, directed the full fury of the un- 
reasoning resentment of hundreds of millions of subject 
natives against the white man as the author of their woes. 

Wiedemann mobilized against the West all in the 
Orient who are cold, wet, and hungry— and most of their 
millions are cold, wet, or hungry at some time or other. 

To Japan the value of Wiedemann's propoganda genius 
can be measured in terms of naval squadrons and army 
corps. 

Another interesting evidence of Japan's thorough mili- 
tary preparations for conquest is that for years the Army 
had meteorological experts assigned to observations through- 
out the islands of the southwest Pacific, including Sumatra, 
Java, Borneo, the Moluccas, the Celebes, and all other islands 
of the Netherlands East Indies. They were also located in 
British Malaya, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, and the 
Philippines until as late as September, 1941, 

Many of these men, including professors in the science 



46 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



of meteorology, sought and secured employment as laborers 
on the rubber plantations, in the rice fields, and tin mines, 

Documentary evidence secured subsequent to the out- 
break of war in the Far East discloses that the Japanese 
meteorologists made particular studies relative to the be- 
ginning and end of the monsoons, their deductions being 
based on precipitation, pressure, temperature, and sun- 
spot observations. The Japanese Army makes the claim 
that its synoptic weather data enables it to forecast when 
the monsoon will begin, how long it will last, and whether 
it will be normal or wet or dry. 

In addition to the data secured and correlated by these 
military meteorological personnel, the Japanese civil mete- 
orological services furnish the army, throughout the Orient, 
with day-to-day local and route forecasts. 

There is evidence that the Japanese Army received 
continuous data from over 18,000 rainfall and sunshine sta- 
tions or observation posts in the southwest Pacific. 

The timing and routing of Japanese military thrusts 
into the Philippines, Netherlands East Indies, and Burma 
in recent months indicate careful study and full considera- 
tion of weather factors in those areas. 

The staff of each field army includes commissioned 
meteorologists and enlisted assistants. Some of these men 
are university professors of meteorology temporarily com- 
missioned to augment the permanent military meteorologi- 
cal service. 

The Army had other "well-camouflaged" outposts of 
observation. Prior to the outbreak of war she had estab- 
lished scores of additional "consulates" in cities and towns 
throughout the countries of the Far East. The location of 
these consulates were carefully selected and designated by 
the Army. Each of them had top-heavy staffs, most of the 
personnel bearing marked resemblance to Army officers. 
They came and went continuously. There was a very heavy 
"turn-over" in office help. 

In Thailand I saw Japanese bombers, with "windows" 
painted on their sides, landing, discharging and taking on 
full passenger loads, all Japanese. 

Coincident with intensified Japanese propaganda in 
Indo-China and Thailand, was an economic penetration of 
those two countries. In late September, 1941, Japan in- 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



47 



duced the Thailand government to grant her a credit of 
30,000,000 ticals. One week later she bought 12 million 
ticals' worth of rice from Thailand, using the Thailanders' 
cash to do it. 

When Japanese troops first entered British Malaya 
they gave 100 Singapore dollars, in Japanese scrip, to in- 
dividual natives. The same device (100 guilders, printed in 
Japan) was used in Borneo and other islands of the Nether- 
lands East Indies. 

Japanese ability and skill in the realm of major tactics 
cannot be disputed. The present conflict has provided nu- 
merous examples of large-scale operation, boldly conceived 
and planned, and carried through to a successful conclusion 
in the face of adverse weather conditions, great natural ob- 
stacles, and often determined enemy opposition. 

The Japanese army has been campaigning for ten years 
on the Asiatic mainland and has imbibed valuable lessons 
and practical staff experience in supply, movements, staff 
control, and coordination of all arms. 

Contrary to widely circulated reports, the Japanese 
Command does not expend infantry callously or carelessly. 
It recognizes the great fire effect of modern automatic 
weapons. The Japanese infantry are instructed to call on 
artillery, tanks, toxic smoke, and aircraft to soften up the 
opposition and pave the way for the final assault. And they 
are not encouraged to get themselves needlessly killed if 
tanks, planes and artillery can do the hard work for them. 
When sacrifice is necessary, however, the Command can 
call on the troops to fight to the last man and the last round 
or to attack repeatedly in the face of heavy losses, and in 
the defensive, positions are held to the last extremity. 

At Lagusayn, on Bataan, four or five hundred Japanese 
troops landed in barges behind the left flank of our line 
and occupied a very strong, concreted position that had been 
prepared years before by U. S. troops for beach defense. 
After several attacks had failed to dislodge them, General 
Mac Arthur ordered that they be driven out at all costs as 
they constituted a definite menace to the whole line. When 
it was pointed out that the forces attacking them would 
suffer heavy losses, the order was given : "If necessary use 
the attack force to destruction." 

No amount of fire could batter them out of their strong- 



48 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



hold. Finally the position was taken with the bayonet. All 
the Japs in it fought until they were killed except for one 
hundred and fifty who, at the last, jumped over a high cliff 
in the rear of the position and were dashed to death on the 
rocks below. It was another example of mass hara-kiri. 

NOTE: In July, 1941, Major General Edward P. King 
had a Japanese wood-cutter removed from the Bataan 
peninsula for suspicious activities. The man had been on 
the peninsula for four years. In the subsequent attack on 
Bataan the "wood-cutter" re-appeared as a lieutenant 
colonel of infantry in one of the attacking divisions. 

The principles governing the organization of defensive 
positions closely resemble our own. Positions are sited in 
depth and consist of a number of strong points, each ca- 
pable of all-round defense. Dummy positions are inter- 
spersed. 

The Jap likes to hide his defensive wire in wide trenches 
so that it cannot be seen at a distance and knocked out by 
artillery fire. It also makes it harder to spot it from the 
air. He also likes to site his antitank guns on reverse slopes 
so as to catch enemy tanks with their bellies exposed as 
they "top" the ridge above him. 

Particular training is given in all forms of night opera- 
tions. Special emphasis is given to the advantages to be 
gained by night marches and advances as means of obtain- 
ing surprise and avoiding casualties. 

On October 15, 1941, a directive was issued to all Army 
and Corps Commanders in Manchuria that all training 
would be conducted at night, including all marches, and 
movements by ship or train. All loadings and unloadings, 
of troops and supplies, were to be accomplished at night, in 
total, or semi-darkness. 

Scores of vehicles, guns, tanks, and tons of munitions 
and supplies were lost overboard from ships and lighters. 
Quantities of valuable equipment were damaged. Hundreds 
of men sustained painful, and often disabling injuries, but 
for the next six weeks the order was continued in force. 

This was what we would call "learning the hard way" 
but it paid dividends— big dividends — a little later on. 

Like the old Romans, the Japs know what they mant 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



49 



when they go about fashioning the national sword — the 
Army. 

Gibbon points out that "So sensible were the Romans 
of the imperfections of valor without skill and practice, 
that, in their language, the name of an Army was bor- 
rowed from the word which signified exercise. Exercitus 
was the Roman concept of what an Army should be — a force 
capable of meeting in peace-time the exigencies and diffi- 
culties it would have to face in war/' 

We saw this realistic preparation "pay off" for them 
when they hit the Philippines. 

They came into Lingayen Gulf, north of Manila, with 
eighty- five transports, accompanied by a score of destroyers 
and several cruisers. The transports anchored in an arc 
about 3,000 yards off-shore. The destroyers anchored out- 
side of them as a protective screen against our submarines. 
Beyond them were the cruisers. 

The cruisers and the destroyers then opened up on our 
beach defenses with everything they had. They used re- 
duced charges, lobbing anti-personnel, high-fragmentation 
shells into the lines of the newly-inducted Mac Arthur di- 
visions. Casualties were heavy, and so was the moral effect 
on those who had been high school and college R. 0. T. C. 
boys a few weeks before. 

Much of our beach defense was smashed by this heavy 
concentration of shell fire. Machine-gun emplacements and 
their crews were decimated. The fire reached inland and, 
aided by air reconnaissance, knocked out many of our 3-inch 
and heavier guns. Then the Jap started coming ashore. 
He had made a landing a few days before to feel out our 
beach defenses and the Philippine Scouts had driven him 
back into the sea and bayonetted over a thousand in the 
water. Not more than a dozen got back to the ships. This 
second landing, however, was the real thing. The sides of 
their transports, which were really landing-barge carriers, 
opened up and steel barges, filled with troops, slid off rollers 
into the sea. The fronts of these barges were armored 
heavily enough to turn fifty-caliber fire, but a .30 caliber 
projectiles penetrated the sides. They had heavy steel double 
keels or flanges running the entire length of their bottoms, 
an important feature of their construction that enabled 
them to over-ride the beach obstacles. Our beach defenses 



50 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



included broad belts of barbed wire concealed just below 
the level of the water, and railroad rail uprights strength- 
ened by brazing other rails to them horizontally. This 
"fence" barrier was also concealed below the level of the 
water but the Jap intelligence service didn't overlook very 
much. They evidently know about these under- water ob- 
stacles because they drove their boats in at high tide; the 
curved, heavy keels rode right on over the rails and wire 
and the enemy landing parties that were supposed to get 
tangled up in the barbed wire belt remained in their land- 
ing craft until they cleared most of the obstacles. 

Many of the boats ran right up onto the beach, dropped 
their armored bows which then acted as landing ramps, 
and field guns, tankettes, and ammunition carts were un- 
loaded. 

The smaller boats carried sixty men, the larger ones 
as many as 120, including rifles, ammunition, packs, and 
rations. 

Not all of them got ashore. Hundreds were killed by 
our remaining automatic arms and rifle fire while still in 
the boats; others were destroyed as they charged up the 
beaches toward our positions, and hundreds more were 
killed with the bolo and the bayonet after they closed with 
the defenders. 

All during the landing operations, of course, the enemy 
kept bombing our lines and it was the bombing, as much 
as the naval bombardment, that facilitated his landing. 
The first parties to come ashore secured and maintained 
close air support by means of radio communication. 

During the night they infiltrated through the Philip- 
pine Army lines and pushed rapidly inland. 

It cannot be denied that their landing operations 
throughout the Philippine Archipelago and the southwest 
Pacific area showed skill, a high degree of training, and 
complete preparation. 

The moment he had landed the Jap proved himself the 
savage, merciless, thoroughly competent foe I had described 
him to be in my report to the War Department following my 
assignment with the Second Division. He has no sporting 
instincts. "War is a business for savages/' says General 
Shiraishi. 

Three of our pilots who had to bail out over Manila 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



51 



Bay during aerial combat told me that the Japs came down 
and strafed their parachutes a few moments after they 
had cut loose from "bhern. The Japs then strafed the orange- 
colored life belts which our men had been smart enough to 
also discard, 

Every bombing attack brought bundles of propaganda 
leaflets which w.ere dumped over the lines of the Philippine 
Army calling upsn^the troops to turn on their American 
officers and kill them. "As they lead you to your deaths 
then is your opportunity to shoot them in the back" was 
the oft-repeated and favorite bit of advice. 

Snipers, .(and they put a corps of five thousand of 
these specialists ashore) ; would let parties of Filipino troops 
pass unmolested and wait, hidden in trees and Jungle-; 
growth, until they could line their sights on an American, 
ofncer. A - ■ 

These snipers Were hard to discover. Each was 
equipped with a green camouflage helmet-cover of fine mesh 
that covered his head and shoulders when let -down over , 
his face. It also warded off mosquitoes. In addition He 
carried a heavier net of mesh cord to camouflage the rest 
of him and in which he stuck green leaves and grass; a 
coil of brownish-green rope with which to climb and tie 
himself in trees; a small sack of rice; hardtack; one-half 
pound of hard candy; a package of concentrated food; can 
of coffee* can of field rations; vitamin pills; chlorine, with 
which to purify water; mustard gas antidote; quinine; 
bandages; green gloves, socks, and a flashlight with rotat- 
ing vari-colored lenses. His rifle was a ,25 calibre and made 
little more report than a BB gun. 

As far as his rations went he carried what the rest of 
the Japenese troops came ashore with. 

When he ran out of food and could not steal or com- 
mandeer any locally he often killed and cooked dogs and 
cats. Wither food was palatable and attractive did not 
matter very much ; as long as it enabled him to keep on 
fighting, which he often did for as long as two weeks, cut 
off from: his food and ammunition supplies. He usually 
packed 200 rounds of light ammunition with him. 

The Japanese posted signs, and distributed thousands of 
hand bills by air, offering a two thousand peso bribe for. an 



52 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

American officer, alive or dead. As far as is known there 
was not a single taker. 

Later on, as the going got tougher, they raised the ante 
to three thousand pesos and their radio blared this bait to 
all the villages and towns. 

The Filipino troops laughed and the civilians crossed 
themselves in horror at this murderous suggestion. 

If he was murderous and treacherous the Jap was 
equally cunning and resourceful. He know all the small 
tricks of survival. 

One of his favor ate stunts, as long as the defending 
forces had an airport left, was to fly in at night with his 
landing lights on to deceive the AA gunners, and then drop 
flares to light up the target for his bombers who would come 
in. They repeated this maneuver in a naval action in the 
Solomons August 8th and 9th, 1942, when they sank three 
of our heavy cruisers. A Jap plane flew over our naval 
force, dropped flares, and lit up our vessels for the fire of 
the Jap ships that had closed in hidden by darkness. 

Another trick used in his bombing attacks on Corregi- 
dor was to come in very low from the seaward side — so low 
that the listening devices would not pick him up, or to glide 
down from a great height, directly out of the sun, with 
motors cut. 

Some of the bombing formations, particularly in the 
early days of the war, were led by German pilots* 

When he wants to locate airdrome defenses, such as 
searchlights and A A, the Jap will send a few high-flying 
planes over at night to draw light-beams and antiaircraft 
fire. These planes will be followed immediately by one or 
more fighters which strafe the airdrome, its planes and de- 
fenses, from a very low altitude. 

All of this is by no means the bottom of his bag of 
tricks. On one occasion Brigadier General Patrick J. Hur- 
ley, the former Secretary of War, and I had landed at an 
airport in the southwest Pacific theater of operations in a 
fine new B-24 bomber that represented over $400,000 of the 
taxpayer's money. Several of our P-40s were out on pro- 
tective patrol twenty or more miles from the field. Sud- 
denly, without warning, ninety-one Jap bombers hit the 
field, blasting our new ship with incendiary bombs. They 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



53 



had found the radio frequency of our patrol planes and ef- 
fectually jammed their sending. 

Nor is the Jap at all squeamish about giving one of 
his comrades "the works*' whenever the latter is forced 
down or shot out of the air. In every bombing attack he 
always details one plane to strafe and burn fallen planes 
with .60 calibre incendiary bullets or to blast them with in- 
cendiary bombs. 

The enemy is not going to learn anything about Jap 
plane construction secrets if he can help it. The fact that 
the crew is incinerated with the strafed plane is not an 
item of any particular importance. 

He brought with him cart-loads of pesos, printed in 
Japan, with which he mulcted the villagers out of their 
chickens, hogs, rice, bicycles, hand-carts and other needed 
supplies. He was too crafty to seize by force. The country- 
folk would have hidden their little possessions in the jungle. 

With every day that the heroic defenders delayed his 
conquest of the Philippines he grew more savage and vin- 
dictive. 

On the night of December 30, I met two young lieuten- 
ants near the Q. M, docks at Manila. They were trying to 
find any form of transportation over to Bataan. One was 
lying on a makeshift litter. He had been shot through the 
mouth, the bullet emerging below the point of his right 
jaw after smashing most of his teeth. He was a ghastly 
and pitiful sight. The other youngster was badly shaken. 

The tatter stated that they were in a tank platoon that 
had been cut off by premature bridge demolitions as they 
were retiring toward Manila. While halted they were at- 
tacked by a strong Japanese infantry force. When the ac- 
tion started the two lieutenants were making a reconnais- 
sance of a gorge about a hundred yards from the head of 
the column. 

The crews of the stalled tanks began to clamber out 
of their steel death-traps and as each man emerged he was 
shot to pieces by tommy-gun fire. An officer, rising in a 
turret, was decapitated by a Japanese who had climbed 
on top of the tank. Two other officers were cut down with 
sword slashes as they emerged from their burning tanks. 

"Had these men surrendered?" I asked. 

"They were not given any chance to surrender," was 



54 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

] . '. I : ' lv 

the reply, "the moment .they were discovered they wer£ 
killed." 

Everywhere he struck the Jap's tactics were character- 
ized by speed, deception, and the use of modern automatic 
weapons. - Like our late lamented gangsters he is partial 
to the tommy-gun. It is actually a light machine-£un that 
can be fired from the Hip when supported by a sling -over 
the shoulder. It is gas-operated t magazine-fed, and air- 
cooled and can be adjusted to fire automatically or semi- 
automatically. It also has a bayonet attachment. Its cali- 
bre is 6;5-mm (0.256 in.) which makes it possible for the 
individual soldier to carry a couple of hundred rounds of 
its light-weight ammunition. 

The Japanese 'infantry is also armed with a heavy 
machine gun, 7.7-mm (0.303) calibre, of the HotchkiSs 
type. It is air-cooled, has a special mounting that makes it 
possible to use it against aircraft, and the gun and its tri- 
pod can be packed on one horse. Another horse carries 
four boxes of ammunition. This gun stood up very well to 
severe fighting conditions in Malaya and Luzon. Three to 
four thousand rounds of continuous fire can be delivered 
without its becoming over-heated. 

Two weapons that were used with deadly and demoral- 
izing effect on the Philippine Army, particularly in the 
fighting on Bataan, were the 81-mm and the 90-mm mor- 
tars. They both throw a very destructive anti-personnel 
shell and the Japanese employed over five hundred of these 
on a twenty-mile front night and day. 

The great advantage that the use of these mortars 
gave the Japanese in the Malay and Philippine fighting was 
that they could be used in swampy and jungle country 
where firm earth for field artillery platforms could not be 
found. Most of the time wooden ramps had to be, carried 
along or constructed on the spot in order to get field guns 
off the roads and across deep ditches to firing positions. 
The field guns, too, required towing while the Japanese in- 
fantry could take their mortars with them wherever they 
went. 

The Jap had field guns when and where he thought them 
necessary. One, a new 88-mm howitzer, ;! is one of the best 
guns available for the type of country in which it was used. 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 55 



They also have a new, improved 75-mm field gun with an 
effective range of over 10,000 yards. 

They even had huge railroad guns of 240-mm. It fired 
a 450-pound projectile and in the final stages of the siege 
of our forts in Manila Bay the Japs were hurling over a 
thousand of these projectiles a day against Fort Hughes, 
Fort Drum and Fort Mills, At the same time they were 
delivering as many as fifty air raids a day against Corregi- 
dor. 

They also have a very good 75-mm antiaircraft gun 
that has a horizontal range of over 15,000 yards and a 
vertical range of 33,000 feet. It could reach up 9,000 feet 
higher than any of the A A guns we had on Corregidor. 

Their 20-mm AA gun is a gem. It is a modified Oerli- 
kon, originally designed and manufactured in Switzerland. 
It can fire 120 rounds per minute, has a horizontal range 
of 5,500 yards and a certical range of 13,000 feet 

Some of their other guns appear crude in comparison 
with ours but General Ogawa once said to me, "You Ameri- 
cans are perfectionists. Everything has to be built like a 
watch. Your 37-mm infantry accompanying gun can shoot 
three times as far as your men can see to aim it and it 
can't 'accompany' unless there's a truck around to pull it. 
It costs $4,000 and our 37-mm, which will do any job the 
infantry can hand it, costs $90. It may look like a stove- 
pipe on wheels compared with yours, but we can turn out 
forty or more for the price of one of your fancy jobs." I 
think he had something there. 

The Japs also use a concrete bomb consisting of two 
steel walls with the annular space filled with a very slow- 
fixing concrete. Slugs of half -inch diameter reinforcing 
rods are mixed in with the concrete which is as hard as 
flint after it "sets." This bomb is used primarily as an 
anti-personnel bomb. 

Their incendiary bombs were filled with black rubber 
impregnated with phosphorus. Water would extinguish 
the pellets but they would re-ignite up to twelve hours after 
the bomb burst. 

How they love to pour it on when they have air superior- 
ity! Coming down from Lingayen and all during the long- 
drawn-out struggle on Bataan and Corregidor they bombed 
and bombed and bombed, night and day, day after day, week 



56 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

after week, month after month. Twenty-four hours a day 
our men were subjected to its cumulative effect on the hu- 
man nervous system. Tension, horror, apprehension rilled 
every hour for the stoutest heart. 



The Creation of Japan's National Army 

After the Restoration, plans were laid for the creation 
of a new national army, owing; allegiance to the Emperor 
instead of feudal lords. The handful of designing and am- 
bitious empiricists who even then had Japan's "ultimate 
destiny" in mind, made sure that under the new constitu- 
tion Army and Navy leaders would have the privilege and 
the right of direct access to the Emperor. They do not 
have to seek the consent of the prime minister. They can 
block the formation of a cabinet or force its fall by with- 
holding or withdrawing their respective ministers. 

If the Diet does not approve their demands for funds 
they can obtain them by Imperial sanction. 

Japan did not come to a national army until she was 
confronted with the peril of Western aggression following 
Commodore Perry's visits. At once it became apparent 
that the supreme danger demanded the liquidation of the 
kingdoms of the various daimyos, the abolition of feudalism, 
and the fusing of the state into one coherent entity capable 
of immediate, coordinated action in time of national emer- 
gency. This meant the surrender by the daimyos of all 
their powers and the centering of all authority in the di- 
vine Emperor. Henceforth loyalty to the Son of Heaven 
should terminate the feudal duty of obedience to the ter- 
ritorial lord. 

The designers of the new Japan were too wise to scrap 
the old national religion of loyalty. They recognized it as 
a national heritage of incalculable worth. It represented 
a moral power with which they could work miracles and 
achieve tremendous ends. So they did not destroy it but 
rather converted it to their own purposes and made it the 
new national obligation of devotion and duty in the Em- 
peror's service. 

In their planning of the new army, therefore, they 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 57 



sought the elimination of the antiquated samurai system 
but the retention of the samurai spirit. 

They envisioned an army drawn from all sections of 
the Empire, inculcated with a deeper, broader patriotism 
and made one hundred percent literate by compulsory edu- 
cation. 

In 1870 the new army came into being with the organi- 
zation of four regiments of infantry. 

When the Emperor opened its ranks to all, regardless of 
class or position in the social scale, the privilege of enlist- 
ment came to the peasant boy as an emancipation from serf- 
dom and a patent of nobility conferred on him by the graci- 
ousness of Imperial divinity. 

Now the meanest man in the village could be a samurai. 

In 1877 the soldiers of the new Imperial Army were 
pitted against the armed retainers of General Saigo in the 
Satsuma rebellion and the samurai of a dying feudalism 
went down before the bayonets of the Emperor's "com- 
moners." 

That victory endowed every man in the new Army 
with faith in it and himself. 

His was the only army in the history of Asia, if not 
in the world, in which every soldier could read and write — 
because he had received the benefits of compulsory educa- 
tion in public schools organized and staffed by American 
teachers. 

The physical and mental training begun in the school 
was continued in the barracks. His body was built up by 
better food, scientific exercise, compulsory hygiene and 
regular habits. His life was enriched and expanded by 
new friendships and wider mental horizons. The lowly 
peasant who could never have hoped to look beyond his 
rice field and hibachi* could now get a glimpse of the world 
as he marched with his wondering fellows likewise emanci- 
pated from the slavery of the rice-paddy, the fishing-boat, 
and the coastal junk. 

He entered a new world in which he was guarded 
against disease and in which he grew in stature, appearance 
and character — a world that he had never dreamed of until 
it was his privilege to enter the service of his Emperor. 

* Hibachi— a large brass or iron urn in which charcoal is burned 
for cooking, and heating the home. 



58 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

He had always known that the cherry blossoms, fall- 
ing in their prime, symbolized the voluntary death of the 
warrior for his country. 

"What is the spirit of Yamato* but the mountain 
cherry fragrant under the morning sun." 

Now he himself was the warrior and when he died in 
battle his soul could join the hosts of the Kamit in the 
Shokonsha, the Pantheon of the Gods. 

There is one thing about the Japanese Army that its 
own General Staff is explicit on. War is no place for finer 
sensibilities and tender emotions, or the observance of 
niceties. In one of their staff manuals they quote Bis- 
marck's "Fuerstenpolitik :" 

"Whenever war breaks out terrorism becomes a neces- 
sary military principle." 

The frequent quotations from the German that appear 
in Japanese military text books and training manuals serve 
as reminders that the modern Japanese Army was created 
by Germans and modeled after the German military ma- 
chine. 

After a brief period of experimentation with the 
French Army organization the Japanese finally decided to 
adopt the German pattern. She copied it as closely as a 
photostat copies the original. All of her military regula- 
tions and text books were translated almost verbatim from 
the German and the officers of the Second Division told me 
that the deployment of the Corps of which the Division 
formed a part was precisely that of a German Army Corps 
and that it was supervised, though not directed, by German 
staff officers. 

I was interested in discovering, too, that over half of 
the staff of the Second Division spoke German and were 
graduates of German military schools, including General 
Hayashi himself who had just completed a course of study 
at the German General Staff College. I found all the offi- 
cers, with two exceptions, great admirers of the German 
Army. 

The mutual admiration and close liaison between the 

* The word "Yamato," in reference to 2,500 years of development 
of national sentiment and ideals, has a spiritual connotation, 

f Kami— spirits of the dead fallen in battle, literally "gods of 
war." 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP: FIGHTING-MAN 59 

German and the Japanese military minds was interrupted 
only briefly during the last war. 

In the campaigns in Malaya, the Philippines, and the 
southwest Pacific there were constantly recurring evidences 
of German participation in the operations in the form of 
technicians, aviation pilots, pilot instructors, and staff ad- 
visers. 

Incidentally, the Japanese campaign in Malaya was fea- 
tured by the presence of an old "Hachiman Sama"* or god 
of war, in the person of Lieutenant General Senjiro Shirishi. 

Hearing of it reminded me of the day I saw four vener- 
able old patriarchs attending a staff conference of the Sec- 
ond Division. 

"Who are they and what are they doing here? I asked. 

"They are old retired generals of the Kusso- Japanese 
war," replied Colonel Sato. "We like them to see the train- 
ing of the Division and to have their observations: You 
know, 'Chie no sake wa furui taru ni aru\" (The wine of 
wisdom comes in old casks.) 

Anyway, from the account given by a wounded Jap 
officer prisoner it seems that General Shiraishi was brought 
to the scene of the Malaya struggle for purposes of morale. 
Eighty-nine years old, unable to walk, earned about in a 
litter 'beloved by all officers who had learned under him at 
the Toyama Gakko, famous school of physical and moral 
education, he was to fill the role of a symbol of past glories 
and harbinger of victories to come, but nothing more than 
that. Carried about, like an Ark of the Covenant, he was 
to be seen and not heard. 

But the patriarch stole the show. 
Partly to please the old man's vanity, partly to pay 
the deference that the Japanese extend to age, the Army 
staff would gather around him in the evening. He would 
listen to the recital of the achievements and problems of 
the day Then he would offer his solutions to difficulties 
that confounded the staff. They were usually better than 

their own. n . w 

On one occasion he recommended a novel application 

of air power ! His solution solved a problem that had baffled 

younger minds for days. 

He was not, at any time, in actual command of troops. 

* Usa Hachiman is the Japanese God of War. 



60 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

But he possessed the authority of enormous prestige that 
increased with the repeated evidences of his profound wis- 
dom. 

At the end of the campaign the old Samurai — venerable 
symbol of victory — was carried over the causeway from 
Johore in triumph into Singapore. 

The Jap officer, when it comes to taking the best of 
what other armies have to offer in instruction, doesn't miss 
a trick. If thoroughness, long hours of hard work, atten- 
tion to detail, study, and an eagerness to assimulate, and 
improve upon, mean anything, then he is among the world's 
best in his profession. 

His genius lies in his ability to convert knowledge 
gained from outside sources, into working principles. Here- 
in lies the potency to excel his teachers, Little does he 
invent but mightily does he adapt. 

The Japanese General Staff has taken particular care 
to exploit every field of knowledge to increase the efficiency 
and striking power of the machine they have built for con- 
quest. Japanese discipline may be rigid but the Japanese 
military mind, contrary to general opinion, possesses an 
amazing elasticity and receptivity. It is always ready to 
receive, adapt, improve and use the best that other minds 
produce. 

The Japanese officer may not be the equal of our ar- 
tillery officers in technical knowledge, but he can still do 
a very workmanlike job under the most difficult and dis- 
couraging conditions. No angle of his training is neglected. 

Last fall I met three senior Japanese officers (whom 
I had known years before in Japan) in the wilds of north- 
ern Thailand. 

NOTE : In a report to the War Department, Colonel 
Clear wrote: 'The thoroughness of Japanese preparations 
- — moral, physical, and material — and the deep studies of 
the Japanese General Staff who recognized that new tactical 
and strategical conditions must be met by utilizing the de- 
velopments of modern science that created them — were 
positive factors contributing to the extraordinary successes 
gained by Japanese arms in the field. 

"Are you on a hunting trip?* I asked. 

"Oh, no," one replied, "'we are just learning geography 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 



61 



through the soles of our boots." Which meant that they 
were making a detailed reconnaissance of the jungle paths 
and trails that they were going to lead their regiments over 
on the march to Singapore a few weeks later. 

A fourth in the group was introduced to me as a Major 
Tachibana. 

"I have known a number of Japanese officers by the 
name of Tachibana/ I observed. 

"Gni ni ko taknsanS' ("the devil has many children"), 
one of the others quipped. Major Tachibana showed keen 
displeasure at this sally and I recalled that Doctor Nitobe, 
one of Japan's great liberals, had once told me that the 
Japanese were supersensitive because they had no sense of 
humor Looking at the resentment showing on Tachibana's 
sullen face I could believe it. They seldom laugh at jokes 
that in any way reflect upon themselves. 

On another occasion two unkempt fellows in dirty 
Chinese clothes were walking in the grounds of the Oriental 
Hotel, Bangkok, on the banks of the Chao Pia Me Norn 
("Mother of Waters"). A few moments later they were 
joined by Japansee officers in mufti who were stopping at 
the hotel. A closer look and it was evident that the soiled 
pair, talking Japanese with the others, were army officers 
on a confidential assignment. They, too, were "learning 
geography through the soles of their boots"— the geography 
of the other fellow's country. 

As far back as 1887, Viscount Tani, one of Japan's most 
fanatical and narrow chauvinists, advised: "Make our coun- 
try secure by military preparation * * * and then 
wait for the time of the confusion of Europe which must 
come eventually, sooner or later. Such a development will 
agitate the nations of the Orient as well, and thence will 
come our opportunity to dominate the Orient. When the 
storm clouds "gather in the West the war drums begin to 
beat in the East." 

He also told our Minister at that time that our nation 
had gone soft and that we had a contempt for the fighting 
man that some day would prove fatal to us. He said we 
had no fighting force worthy to be dignified by the name 
of army and he quoted the lines of a minor ecclesiastical 
poet of England who died 300 years ago: 



62 CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

"Our God and soldier we alike adore, 
When at the brink of ruin, not before; 
After deliverance both alike requited, 
Our God forgotten and our soldiers slighted." 

Japan has won some great victories. Within four 
months after Pearl Harbor she had acquired a new economic 
empire, perhaps t he richest prize that ever fell to conquest. 

NOTE: In 1887 our army had a total combat strength 
of 18,000 men— less than the police force of New York City. 
In British Malaya she won a region that produces half a 
million metric tons of rubber annually, and a million and a 
quarter tons of iron ore, and large quantities of tin. In the 
Netherlands East Indies and British Borneo she took an 
area with an annual production of eight million tons of oil 
and a half million tons of rubber. In Thailand she won 
agricultural riches enough to glut her with rice and other 
food staples. In the Philippines she secured an inexhaust- 
ible supply of hard woods and large deposits of gold and 
other metals. An inventory of the spoils shows the bandy- 
legged Japanese trooper to have garnered incalculably more 
in six months than Hitler's legions have won in all their 
conquests. 

For years a vital element in our strategy was the cut- 
ting off of Japan from the essential materials of war. The 
shoe is now on the other foot. 

Japan admittedly has great strength. Prior to the out- 
break of the present conflict, her success in previous wars 
and her astute diplomatic victories had rendered her almost 
impregnable to direct attack. Ten thousand miles of salt 
water lie between her and Europe. The United States is 
five thousand miles away, with fifty million square miles of 
watery waste between our fleet bases and her shores. Thus, 
most of the Pacific ocean stands as her guardian of safety 
from any direct attack by sea. In addition, since her re- 
cent conquests, she has built a solid block of empire from 
the Bering to the Banda seas. The islands of her Empire 
chain cover the sea approaches to eastern Asia from Vladi- 
vostok to Singapore, and the Malay archipelago is not only 
a bridge to the Indies but a barrier between the Pacific 
and the Indian Oceans. We have not only lost Corregidor, 



CLOSE-UP OF THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 63 



Cavite, Hongkong, Batavia, Rangoon, Singapore and Soura- 
baya, the great bases of the far western Pacific and south- 
east Asia, but Japan has gained them. 

To the east of the Empire proper lie the outpost de- 
fenses of the Marshal] s, Bonins, Carolines and Marianas, 
with fifty-two fortified points that include air and subma- 
rine bases in which land-based aviation and the wolves of 
the sea lurk in comparative safety awaiting the opportunity 
to strike at highly vulnerable surface prey. 

Her ninety-five divisions comprise a tough, seasoned 
and well-organized force, flushed by tremendous victories. 

Her merchant marine totals six million tons, next in 
size to ours, and her fleet is the third largest in the world. 
Our naval officers who have faced some of its units attest 
to the excellence of its gunnery. 

The spirit of "Yarmto-damashii" of loyalty and mar- 
tial ardor, which possesses her, unites all Japanese in a 
common bond of patriotic fervor. 

Beyond this she has the cult of Emperor- worship, 
based on the national belief in the divinity, infallibility and 
invincibility of the Son of Heaven. 

But Japan has no magic formula for success. She has 
merely brought the crushing reality of greater power 
against her opponents. She, herself, has not yet been con- 
fronted by superior force— the only reality that total war 
recognizes. 

Japan proved, in her previous wars, that she possesses 
a supreme aptitude for war, as well as a stoic valor and a 
capacity for self-immolation upon the altar of country. 

The Japanese Army is a powerful, tough, well-organ- 
ized force (of 95 combat divisions) that has demonstrated 
beyond any doubt its ability to keep the field under the most 
adverse conditions. Its common soldiers have endured pri- 
vations, starvations and hardships that would emasculate 
the resistance of a western-standard army in six months. 
They have a well-nigh phenomenal skill in fighting in moun- 
tain and jungle country. They have a mastery of offensive 
fighting that can be acquired only with the expenditure of 
countless lives. 

It is an army of veterans, hardened and blooded by 
ten years of intermittent warfare in China. It knows the 



64 CLOSE-UP OP THE JAP FIGHTING-MAN 

business of war, the small tricks of survival, the cunning, 
the hard work, and the pleasures of victory. 

It will take all of our man-power and industrial pro- 
duction and moral strength to defeat this Army. 

We have just entered the opening phase of the most 
sanguinary racial conflict that has ever convulsed the world, 

474— C&GSS— 1 0-28-42— 200